From 6-16 september, the 13th Conference of Parties' of the UNCCD (UN Convention to Combat Desertification) took place, this time in Ordos, China. The UNCCD is the global convention of the United Nations on combating desertification and drought. Every country in the world has signed this convention. Canada withdrew in 2012, but in 2016 - under the Trudeau administration - started a process to re-enter the convention. Both ENDS is a member of Drynet, a network of local organisations and communities in dry regions searching for ways to use land in a sustainable manner.

Nathalie van Haren en Karin van Boxtel from Both ENDS have attended the conference in Ordos, primarily to put several themes on the agenda of the delegates of the UNCCD. One of these themes is that while combating land degradation, the focus should always be on local people. If a government is planning to stimulate sustainable land use, local people must be involved in the discussion and decision making. They can indicate best what is necessary and what is not to make things work.

Together with Drynet partners, Both ENDS organised three 'side events' during the UNCCD COP 13:


Just, accountable and responsible land governance

Good land governance which respects the different land use and tenure rights of local communities enables local land users with formal or non-formal (including customary) use rights to be active agents in sustainable land management and land restoration and contribute to the UNCCD goals and SDG 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality. With the new UNCCD strategic framework for 2018 - 2030, the challenge is to put the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries (VGGT) adopted by the UN Committee on World Food Security at the heart of the UNCCD. The CSO panel's policy paper on land governance highlights actions to be taken in this area.


These developments raise several questions:


• What elements of good land governance practices push sustainable land management and restoration?


• In what way does the implementation of the VGGT contribute to the UNCCD objectives and SDG 15.3?


• What can we learn from local initiatives and policy-making experiences which recognize formal and non-formal land use rights?


In this side event we aim to show inspiring practices of just, accountable and responsible land governance and translate them into policy messages to be integrated in the UNCCD strategic framework.


Small is beautiful

Interactive dialogue on linking local initiatives on sustainable land management and restoration to the SDG 15.3 implementation.


Community-led initiatives are numerous, often small-scale, very local and not seen by government agencies. How do these local initiatives fit in national LDN programmes? What is needed for them to be recognized by government agencies, monitors and statistical bureaus? What can government agencies do to have a good overview of sustainable land management and restoration activities which will support implementation of the target 15.3?


Do numbers tell the tale?

Financing land restoration has been increasingly emphasized as a focus area to meet SDG 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality. Most financial mechanisms for community-led land restoration originate from governments through grants, programme funding or climate funds, or involve private philanthropic means. Nevertheless, more and more private commercial funds are mobilized for land restoration projects. The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund illustrates this development, aiming to offer long-term financial mechanisms for land restoration.


This workshop will focus on the question how different public and private financing mechanisms can engage in initiatives of local land users and communities - whose land user rights are often informal and customary - to restore land and to use the land sustainably?


The question will be addressed by looking at good practices from Niger, where CRESA has successfully re-greened large areas of the Sahel. Hereafter, an overview of financing land restoration possibilities will be presented by WRI. A representative of Mirova will thereafter zoom in on the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund and its role in engaging with local land users and communities.


More information about what Both ENDS works on with partners in dry areas.

Website Drynet

Website UNCCD

Briefing paper September 2017 'Grounding Sustainability: land, soils and the SDG's'

Summary 'Grounding Sustainability: land, soils and the SDG's'

2-pager 'Regreening the Sahel'

2-pager 'Innovative Seed Management in Iran'


For more information