The 'Global Land Outlook' (GLO), to be produced every four years, will be a flagship publication seeking to provide “a strong, politically relevant, but analytical base for determining the future course of land degradation and sustainable land management across the globe,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut at an event discussing the proposed publication.
10 March 2015: The ‘Global Land Outlook’ (GLO), to be produced every four years, will be a flagship publication seeking to provide “a strong, politically relevant, but analytical base for determining the future course of land degradation and sustainable land management across the globe,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut at an event discussing the anticipated publication. The event was held at the margins of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 3rd Scientific Conference.
Barbut’s opening remarks highlighted key features of the proposed report. Describing it as a cross between the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and the Human Development Index, Barbut said the report will target a broad audience, not only scientists and policy makers, and will include land indices to compare land management systems across countries and their impact on socio-economic development. She said initial funding for the initiative has been provided by the European Commission and the Government of Switzerland.
Describing the rationale for the report, Ian Johnson, Coordinator of the Global Land Outlook, said the GLO would go beyond technical assessments to set a global agenda and framework for action. He stressed that the report will not only identify ‘win-wins’ from sustainable land management, but will also explore strategic trade-offs from a long-term perspective in order to support decision making. He listed other innovative aspects of the report, including its focus on: the multifunctionality of land; the food-water-land nexus; ‘less obvious’ drivers of land use change, notably the nature of economic growth and global trade patterns; and governance instruments to address the growing disconnect between “the financial and socio-economic value of land” and its effect on the poor.
Representatives of two partner organizations made brief presentations at the event. Stefan van der Esch, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, noted that his organization will contribute insights from environment, nature and spatial planning to enhance the report’s foresight. Mark Schauer, Coordinator, Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative, highlighted some economic perspectives in integrating land quality into global environmental assessments.
In his response, Uriel Safriel, Chair of the UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology, welcomed the broad focus on land, observing that the UNCCD “needs a global assessment mechanism.” He called for ensuring synergies with related initiatives, including the ongoing global assessment on land degradation by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). [UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference side event list] [IISD RS coverage of UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference]