ICARDA recently participated in discussions at the 13th session of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – presenting practical solutions and strategies to reverse land degradation across the dry areas.
Held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, from September 6-16, the forum brought together experts and decision makers from 196 countries to plan coordinated responses to emerging trends such as forced migration, and to agree on the actions needed to strengthen the resilience of drought-vulnerable communities.
ICARDA was represented by Dr. Richard Thomas who participated in several events related to sustainable land management. These included an FAO-ICARDA side event on land resources planning which introduced several new tools countries could adopt to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). The side-event was informed by knowledge accumulated during the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM) - with ICARDA contributing expertise on knowledge management, mapping, and the economic losses associated with the region’s land degradation.
Dr. Thomas also participated as a panelist in the side event of an African program supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – the African Initiative for Combating Desertification (AICD), a multi-partner initiative designed to reverse desertification and strengthen resilience to climate change in the Sahel and Horn of Africa.
In addition, a conceptual framework of LDN efforts was presented to the UNCCD’s Committee on Science and Technology, and there were further discussions around potential uses of a new web-based GIS tool developed by ICARDA’s Geoinformatics Unit and the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems - GeOC – which helps define context-specific options for sustainable land management and has proven to be a powerful aid to LDN efforts.