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Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Land Policy & Practice

Seventh Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP)
“Shaping Our Future: Rio+20 Outcome Follow-Up and Moving Towards the Post-2015 Development Agenda”

17-26 September 2013 | Windhoek, Namibia

Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Highlights for Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11
The Rio Conventions Pavilion convened for a day on the Target Setting Approach. The Rio Conventions Pavilion is meeting in conjunction with the Eleventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), taking place from 16-27 September 2013, in Windhoek, Namibia. Target Setting Approach Day included sessions on: monitoring desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) from the bottom up - measuring what matters; a stronger UNCCD for a land-degradation-neutral world calls for a target-setting approach; practical tools for monitoring and assessment of DLDD; drylands biodiversity - bridging the gap with conventions and national legislation; and best practices for pursuing land degradation neutrality at the national and sub-national level - policy options and lessons learned from 75 years of US Experience.
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Participants during a demonstration on tools for monitoring and assessment of DLDD.
Monitoring DLDD from the Bottom-Up: Measuring What Matters
On Wednesday morning the panel discussed the benefits and challenges of local-level monitoring (LLM) in drylands, with a special focus on Namibia. The first speaker stressed the importance of LLM and ownership of monitoring processes for informed decision making and planning.

Two panelists discussed monitoring methods for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). They explained that if community-tailored systems are user-friendly and repeatable, use few tools, and increase capacity and ownership of information, they can provide the foundation for rich national status reports and improve land management.

A farmer from central Namibia shared experiences from a LLM project, which collected data on livestock and grazing areas from 20 villages. He identified the challenges of data accuracy, continuity and funding.

A government representative discussed the added value of LLM in Namibia’s conservancies for national-level decision making. She noted that constraints remain in sustaining technical capacity and funding, and that integrated ecosystem management requires more data and new indicators.
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L-R: Greg Stuart-Hill, WWF; Mary Seely, Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN); Josephine Ilpinge, Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Namibia; Cornelius van der Waal, Millennium Challenge Account; and Israel Hukura, Ovitoto Farmers Association, Namibia.
Cornelius van der Waal, Millennium Challenge Account
Josephine Ilpinge, MET, Namibia
Mary Seely, DRFN, Namibia

A Stronger UNCCD for a Land-Degradation-Neutral World Calls for a Target-Setting Approach
On Wednesday afternoon this UNCCD special event discussed means of engaging the UNCCD in achieving the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) outcome “The Future We Want,” in particular the goal related to a land degradation neutral world. The panel also addressed UNCCD involvement in the ongoing post-2015 development agenda process. The panel also described the outcomes of the Consultative Meeting on a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on a Land Degradation Neutral World and on the Associated Target for Zero-Net Land Degradation, which took place on 26-27 June 2013, in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The panelists called for building on the momentum of Rio+20 and ensuring DLDD is included in the post-2015 development agenda process outcomes. UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja noted that UNCCD COP 11 should build on progress made in defining and refining indicators by setting targets to address land-related challenges. The panel noted recommendations for establishing an Ad Hoc Working Group to continue intersessional work on these issues at UNCCD COP 11.
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L-R: Jonathan Davies, IUCN Global Drylands Initiative; Jia Xiaoxia, National Bureau to Combat Desertification, China; UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja; Melchiade Bukuru, UNCCD Secretariat; and Utchang Kang, Korea Forest Service
UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja
Jia Xiaoxia, National Bureau to Combat Desertification, China
Utchang Kang, Korea Forest Service

Practical Tools for Monitoring and Assessment of DLDD: An Overview
A land assessment expert from the US presented a number of tools and applications for data collection and management of soil health, quality and potential. He noted that expectations regarding land and its actual quality can be better aligned once soil properties are understood. He underscored the importance of standardization of methodologies, and their simplicity and user-friendliness for comparative data and studies.

At the end of the panel, participants took part in a field demonstration of the stick method, a simple measurement methodology applied widely in many parts of the world for monitoring the condition of rangelands.
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Participants watch a demonstration on tools for monitoring and assessment of DLDD.
Gordon Toevs, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US
A demonstration of methods for monitoring DLDD.
Participants watch a demonstration on tools for monitoring and assessment of DLDD.

Drylands Biodiversity: Bridging the Gap With Conventions and National Legislation
On Wednesday evening panelists from governments and civil society discussed synergies and linkages between drylands and biodiversity conservation and the respective conventions. Many called for more attention to drylands as a biome of major relevance for biodiversity conservation and a source of ecosystem services.

An expert from Israel described the UNCCD’s potential to support nature conservation by combating land degradation. He said that dryland biodiversity sustains life-supporting ecosystem services and called for more research on the linkages between components of biodiversity and dryland ecosystem services.

Government representatives said that the national implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) provides examples for the implementation of the UNCCD and that successful CBNRM initiatives can contribute to achieving UNCCD objectives in Africa.

Another speaker described how different targets and strategic plans under the CBD could form the basis for policy synergies and joint national level implementation of the two conventions, including: the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; CBD COP Decision X/35 relating to dry and sub-humid lands; and CBD-UNCCD joint work and activities.
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L-R: Moderator Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD Secretariat; Pablo Manzano, IUCN; Uriel Safriel, National Focal Point (NFP), Israel; David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat; Walter Knausenberger, USAID; and Jorge Luis García Rodríguez, NFP, Mexico
L-R: Pablo Manzano, IUCN, and Uriel Safriel, NFP, Israel
Moderator Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD Secretariat
Jorge Luis García Rodríguez, NFP, Mexico

Best-Practices for Pursuing Land Degradation Neutrality at the National and Sub-National Level: Policy Options Learned From 75 Years of US Experience
On Wednesday evening this panel highlighted existing policies to address land degradation neutrality in the US. Panelists presented the history of land management in the US, examining successes and failures, including various legislative frameworks such as the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA).

They presented a case study of solar energy development on federal public lands, noting that under NEPA, high ecosystem service value areas are excluded from development and that within low ecosystem service value areas projects are required to: avoid and minimize impacts; undertake off-site compensatory mitigation; and utilize monitoring and adaptive management. In conclusion, the speakers emphasized that neutrality is an aspirational target, requiring no explicit targets.

During the question and answer session, participants discussed, inter alia: whether or not US law includes explicit targets; the scaling of land neutrality objectives; how to achieve land degradation neutrality without ideal governance frameworks; and compensation for land degradation.
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L-R: Jeff Herrick, US Department of Agriculture (USDA); and Gordon Toevs, BLM, US
Jeff Herrick, USDA
Gordon Toevs, BLM, US
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Related Links
Event resources

*Event website

*RCP themes

*RCP past meetings


UNCCD COP11 resources

*COP11 website

*COP11 annotated agenda

*COP11 documents

*CST 11 provisional annotated agenda

*CST 11 documents

*CRIC 12 provisional agenda

*CRIC 12 documents

*Host country website


IISD RS resources

*IISD RS coverage of UNCCD COP11, 16-27 September 2013, Windhoek, Namibia

*IISD RS coverage of the Sixth RCP, 9-18 October 2012, Hyderabad, India

*IISD RS coverage of the Fifth RCP, 13-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

*Post-2015-L Development Agenda Meeting Reporting

*SDG - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities

*LAND-L - A news and announcement list on land policy issues

*Land Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Addressing Sustainable Land

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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