Land and its soil are vital to humankind. Soil resources are a complex mixture of eroded rock, minerals, ions, partially decomposed organic material, water, air, roots, fungi, animals, and microorganisms, formed over thousands or even millions of years. Land degradation—the deterioration or loss of the productive capacity of soil—is a global challenge that affects everyone through food insecurity, higher food prices, climate change, environmental hazards, and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Globally, approximately 25% of total land area is already degraded. As land becomes degraded, carbon and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Approximately 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost each year, largely due to unsustainable agriculture practices. If this trend continues, 95% of the Earth’s land areas could become degraded by 2050. Land degradation is particularly severe in the drylands, which cover approximately 40% of the world’s land area and support two billion people, especially women and children.

Events and Articles

Filter by:

Showing 1 - 10 of 131 results

66th Meeting of the GEF Council

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council Members will consider a new work program of the GEF Trust Fund under GEF’s eighth replenishment cycle, how to streamline the GEF project cycle, and possible actions to support the new agreement on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
Event 5 February 2024 - 9 February 2024

21st Session of the UNCCD Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-21)

Parties reviewed the main findings of an independent midterm assessment of the Strategic Framework (2018-2030), and reiterated the interlinkages between land degradation, climate change, and biodiversity, and the need for increased synergies with the Rio Conventions. A high-level event affirmed the growing recognition of the importance of sand and dust storms.
Event 13 November 2023 - 17 November 2023

65th Meeting of the GEF Council

The 65th meeting of the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) took place in a virtual setting, focusing on the GEF Strategy for Knowledge Management and Learning; enhancing policy coherence; and relations with Conventions and international institutions. Council Members further decided on the dates for the 66th to 68th Council meetings in 2024.
Event 10 October 2023

Global Intergovernmental Meeting on Minerals and Metals

While the concept of exploring an international agreement on environmental aspects of mining was widely regarded as premature, delegates expressed interest in a global assessment of existing instruments and mining standards, greater efforts at capacity building and technical assistance, and the creation of a global sand observatory.
Event 7 September 2023 - 8 September 2023

7th GEF Assembly

In a watershed moment for biodiversity, GEF Assembly members unanimously agreed to ratify the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund—a new source of funding for protecting endangered species and their ecosystems globally. The meeting also featured the first-ever Partnership Forum, which brought together Indigenous Peoples, youth, women, and representatives of civil society organizations to discuss ways the GEF can support their empowerment and recognition.
Event 22 August 2023 - 26 August 2023

64th Meeting of the GEF Council

Council Members focused on supporting new, key environmental agreements and frameworks, reaching consensus on the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, including its programming directions, and on preparing the GEF to serve as part of the financial mechanism for the Agreement on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
Event 26 June 2023 - 29 June 2023

Global Conference on the Future of Resource Taxation

Policymakers, experts, and stakeholders will chart a path toward a future where mining—expected to drastically increase in the search for critical minerals for a renewable energy system—drives tangible, sustainable benefits for developing, resource-rich countries.
Event 26 June 2023 - 28 June 2023

The Environmental Negotiation Leaps of 2022

Never in the history of humanity has the world faced so many environmental threats. Climate change is now called a climate emergency. We are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. Our oceans are being choked with plastic, and we continue to produce toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans and wildlife. For millions of people, access to fresh water and sanitation is a growing challenge. The basic human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are at risk. As Article 3 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Sadly, too many lives are being lost because of our profligate abuse of the natural environment.

Linking the Rio Conventions: Where we saw progress in 2022

The three Rio Conventions have been linked—at least on paper—since the 1992 Earth Summit. While each treaty stands on its own, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), both of which were opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the negotiation of which was called for in the Rio Earth Summit outcome—Agenda 21, remain intricately linked because they address interconnected and interdependent issues.