There is probably no greater issue than land in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that touches everyone. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear and the houses we live – it all stems from land resources. In order to “leave no one behind” as proclaimed in the new Sustainable Development Goals, achieving land degradation neutrality needs to be in the forefront to meet our requirements and develop sustainability.
This year’s World Day to Combat Desertification advocates for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals. Land has been an overlooked component in sustainable development for years. Now, we view land as a vital link to provide solutions to cope with many other development challenges such as climate change, secure water and energy resources, promoting inclusive growth, and so on.
The global observance event on 17 June 2016 will be held in Beijing, China, hosted by the State Forestry Administration of China (SFA). In 2013, China embarked on the new development strategy, “The Belt and Road,” aiming to strengthen cooperation among countries primarily in Eurasia. Since then, it has been promoting green and low-carbon infrastructure construction in cooperation with the neighboring countries connected by the historic Silk Road. By organizing the global observance in China, the 2016 WDCD will demonstrate how Land Degradation Neutrality can be a critical element for achieving other sustainable development goals, especially for promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth. At the global observance, the host country will announce the “One Belt and One Road Joint Action to Combating Desertification Initiative” together with interested countries and stakeholders.