Country Profiles Reveal Global Cost of Land Degradation
UN Photo/Martine Perret
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The UNCCD has released an analysis of 21 Land Degradation Neutral (LDN) Country Profiles, as part of its efforts to achieve a land degradation neutral world.

The Profiles aim to help policy-makers estimate the value of their investments in land restoration and make informed choices on the economic returns they can expect from taking assertive action.

15 May 2018: “The global economy will lose a whopping US$23 trillion by 2050 through land degradation,” whereas the cost of taking immediate action, estimated to be around US$4.6 trillion, is “only a fraction of the predicted losses.” This is one of the key conclusions of a review of 21 countries that completed Land Degradation Neutral (LDN) Country Profiles as part of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) efforts to achieve a land degradation neutral world. LDN is the third target under the Sustainable Development Goal on life on land (SDG 15).

The LDN Country Profiles aim to provide policy-makers with easily accessible and scientifically sound information that can help estimate the value of investments in land restoration and inform on the economic returns of remedial action. The assessments highlight the multiple benefits of investing in sustainable land management (SLM), which is recognized as a key factor in accelerating SDG achievement, including for: Goal 1 (No poverty), Goal 2 (Zero hunger), Goal 5 (Promote gender equality), Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation), Goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth), and Goal 13 (Climate action).

Asia and Africa bear the highest costs of land degradation, estimated at US$84 billion and $65 billion per year, respectively.

The profiles are largely based on analytical work undertaken by the Center for Development Research of the University of Bonn, the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The analysis reveals that Asia and Africa bear the highest costs of land degradation, estimated at US$84 billion and $65 billion per year, respectively. Average losses resulting from land degradation for the 21 countries are estimated at nine percent of their gross domestic product (GDP). The UNCCD points out that this figure is even higher for some of the planet’s worst affected countries, such as the Central African Republic, where the total losses are estimated at “a staggering” 40 percent.

A total of 116 out of 169 countries affected by land degradation and/or drought have made commitments to set voluntary national targets under the UNCCD’s LDN Target-Setting Programme. [UNCCD Press Release] [LDN Country Profiles] [UNCCD LDN Target-Setting Programme]

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