UNCCD's Global Land Outlook reaffirms need for action on restoration

Posted on 27 April 2022

The value of the services that land provides are immense, but they aren’t fully recognized in our economic system.
27 April, 2022 – The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) released today the second edition of the Global Land Outlook

Fran Price, Lead, WWF Forest Practice, said:
"The Global Land Outlook released today reaffirms the need for urgent action on ecosystem restoration, climate change and nature conservation. The report warns that if current trends persist, the risk of irreversible environmental changes, severe climate-induced disturbances and widespread food insecurity will increase. That’s not a risk we can afford. The goods and services nature provides underpin human health and well-being – nearly one in three outbreaks of new and emerging diseases are linked to land-use change, including deforestation. 

In a warmer world, agriculturally productive areas, growing seasons, yields and nutritional density of food are all predicted to decline – meaning we would have less and lower quality food. It’s time to start valuing nature for the critical ecosystem services it provides, to halt deforestation, conversion and degradation, transform our food systems and restore degraded ecosystems in a way that benefits people and nature. 

Under the umbrella of the Rio Conventions and the Bonn Challenge, countries committed to bring 1 billion hectares into restoration worldwide by 2030. But implementation lags far behind. Finance to enhance and scale up restoration needs to increase, and we need ground-up inclusive solutions and more streamlined monitoring to take stock of progress."

Joao Campari, Lead, WWF Food Practice, said:
"Better coordination in the implementation of the restoration commitments done under UNCCD, UNFCCC and CBD would help achieve the restoration needed to become nature positive by 2030. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-30 provides an important opportunity to support this effort, scale up finance for restoration and work on the ground at landscape level.. 

Transformation of our food systems is urgently needed to strengthen the implementation of global land, biodiversity and climate agendas. Applying nature-positive food production practices, such as agroecology or regenerative agriculture, will not only reduce deforestation, conversion and degradation, it will actively help restore soil and freshwater health. The public and private sector must follow-through on their commitments at the UN Food Systems Summit to integrate food systems transformation more deeply in national actions and commitments to the 2030 Sustainability Agenda.

Additionally, the value of the services that land provides – not least to human health – are immense, but they aren’t fully recognized in our economic system. Governments, financial institutions and businesses need to put in place the right incentives – and remove harmful subsidies and supports, particularly for food production – to ensure forests, grasslands and other ecosystems are worth more standing than cut down and being converted. Agriculture must shift from being the primary cause of degradation to becoming the principal catalyst for land and soil restoration, which can only be achieved by integrating the nature, nutrition and climate agendas."
Forest Landscape Restoration HQ and nursery, Kasese, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda Children walking in the Forest Landscape Restoration HQ and nursery in Rukoki Sub-County. WWF has given 82 farmers pine woodlots to restore the formally neglected bare hills, Kasese District, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. To date, 32 Hectares have been restored with another 768 Ha earmarked.
© Simon Rawles / WWF