Land Degradation Neutrality

What is Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)?

It is a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.

It is a unique approach that counterbalances the expected loss of productive land with the recovery of degraded areas. It squarely places the measures to conserve, sustainably manage and restore land in the context of land use planning.

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LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP)

The Secretariat and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD are supporting interested countries in the national land degradation neutrality (LDN) target setting process, including the definition of national baselines, targets and associated measures to achieve LDN by 2030 through the LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP).

Why are countries setting LDN Targets?

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 states: “By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world”.

Target 15.3 has therefore become a strong vehicle for driving UNCCD implementation, while at the same time contributing to other SDGs, including those relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration, food and water security, disaster risk reduction, and poverty.

At the 12th session of the Conference of Parties of the UNCCD held in October 2015 in Ankara, Turkey, country Parties reached a breakthrough agreement to endorse this vision and link the implementation of the Convention to the SDGs in general, and target 15.3 in particular.

To date, over 110 countries have engaged with the LDN target setting programme and considerable progress has been made since the 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015.

Implementation of LDN

Because land is fixed in quantity, there is ever-increasing competition to control land resources and harness the flows of goods and services from the land, which has the potential to cause social and political instability, exacerbating poverty, conflict and migration. Thus, the implementation of LDN requires multi-stakeholder engagement and planning across scales and sectors, supported by national-scale coordination that should work with and incorporate existing local and regional governance structures.