- Land degradation is accelerating a sixth mass extinction of species and costing more than 10% of global annual GDP, according to the United Nations.
- Côte d’Ivoire recently hosted the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
- New frameworks have been launched to help restore forests and lands, boost food production, create jobs for young people and lift rural women out of poverty.
COP15 created opportunities for new frameworks to reverse biodiversity loss and deforestation. The world is approaching the tipping point of land degradation, desertification and deforestation, but we can reverse it if we act now. Land degradation affects 52% of all agricultural land, threatening the very existence of 2.6 billion people who depend directly on agriculture for their livelihoods. We lose an average of 12 million hectares of land each year to desertification and drought. This equates to almost 23 hectares per minute. Over 74% of the world’s poorest people are directly affected by land degradation.
In terms of biodiversity and ecosystem loss, land degradation is pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction and costing more than 10% of global annual GDP, according to the United Nations.
Moreover, with the world population expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, water security is another major concern, which has a direct impact on global food security. This increase in population, especially in Africa, will put additional pressure on natural resources such as land, forests and water sources.
African nations face an acute climate crisis
In West Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), warns that the desert is expanding by 5 km each year in semi-arid areas. In Côte d’Ivoire, the crisis is acute, with desertification and drought affecting 60% of our national territory, largely in the northern regions. Our forest area has fallen from 16 million hectares in the 1900s to just 2.9 million hectares in 2021.
The impact on our agricultural and agribusiness sectors has been profound, threatening the very foundation of our national economy and threatening our energy and health security, with long-term ramifications for peace and progress. Many African countries face similar challenges.
Our planet is straining under the weight of a world population of almost 8 billion people.
The World Economic Forum’s Center for Nature and Climate accelerates action on climate change and environmental sustainability, food systems, circular economy and value chains, and the future of international development.
- Through the Global Plastic Action Partnership, we bring together government, business and civil society to shape a more sustainable world through the eradication of plastic pollution.
- The center champions nature-based solutions. Global companies are working together through the 1t.org initiative to support 1 trillion trees by 2030. As of September 2021, more than 30 companies have pledged to conserve, restore and grow more than 3.6 billion trees in more than 60 countries.
- Through a partnership with US Presidential Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and more than 30 global companies, the Forum encourages companies to join the Early Mover Coalition and invest in innovative green technologies so they are available for a massive scale-up by 2030 to enable net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
- The center also brings together leaders to engage in a circular economy approach. Globally, the Scale360° initiative will reduce the environmental impact of value chains in the fashion, food, plastics and electronics industries – an important step in making the opportunity for 4.5 trillion dollar circular economy a reality. The African Circular Economy Alliance funds circular economy entrepreneurs and activities in countries like Rwanda, Nigeria and South Africa. In China, the Forum’s Circular Electronics in China project is helping companies reduce and recycle 50% of e-waste by 2025.
- The Forum also offers crowdsourcing solutions to the climate crisis through its open innovation platform, UpLink. Since 2020, this digital space has hosted more than 40,000 users working on more than 30 challenges, including reducing ocean plastic pollution, stepping up efforts to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees, and innovating in the production and processing of aquatic foods.
Contact us for more information on how to get involved.
Current global restoration commitments cover approximately one billion hectares, requiring investments of between $300 billion and $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. Costs are highest for sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts half of all restoration commitments. As a benchmark, the government of Côte d’Ivoire has launched initiatives to recover 3 million hectares of forest by 2030, a task that will cost more than $1.1 billion. These costs, as is the case for many African countries, are prohibitive.
This kind of spending was envisioned in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, when developed countries committed $100 billion a year to help developing countries successfully adapt to climate change and energy transition. It is therefore essential that we accelerate the implementation of these decisions and agree on a cost-sharing mechanism to protect the world’s land from further degradation. Developed countries must further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet their commitments.
What frameworks were agreed at COP15?
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has stated that every dollar invested in restoring our lands can generate up to $30 in benefits. Major donor initiatives such as the IMF’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust Fund, the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are all designed to support global collaboration to reverse the devastating impact of land degradation in the world’s most vulnerable regions.
Last month, from May 9 to 20, Côte d’Ivoire hosted the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) with a summit of 25 Heads of State and of government. Theme ‘Earth. Life. Legacy: From Scarcity to Prosperity,” the conference was a call to action to reverse the catastrophic cocktail of land degradation, deforestation and desertification that fuels conflict, poverty, hunger and migration among people. the world’s most vulnerable.
At COP15, Côte d’Ivoire launched a new framework for global cooperation, called the Abidjan Legacy Program, to restore forests and lands, boost food production, create jobs for young people and lift rural women out of poverty. poverty. The large and innovative program will deploy cutting-edge technologies such as tree-planting drones, drought-resistant plant varieties and modern irrigation techniques over a five-year period between 2022 and 2027. To implement program, Côte d’Ivoire has raised more than $2.5 billion. commitments from international donors, exceeding the initial target of $1.5 billion.
We now have concrete frameworks to put this finance into action to address catastrophic land degradation and deforestation. We must act now as a global collective force to restore our lands and forests. We must also mobilize partnerships with the private sector in global agricultural value chains to invest in the restoration of our terrestrial ecosystems.
COP15 was a pivotal moment when the world came together to share the burden of saving our lands and giving hope to our farmers, reversing catastrophic degradation and deforestation, and solving one of the challenges most urgent of our time.