COP15 commits to restore one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030

Abidjan – Ivory Coast –
Friday 20 May 2022

The COP15 which ended on Friday in Abidjan committed to “accelerate the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030”, says the final declaration issued at the end of the conference.
This commitment is part of a series of decisions taken after eleven days of work by the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which brought together some 7,000 participants.

In addition to the commitment on degraded land, in which the “involvement of women” is highlighted, the COP15 also commits to “building resilience to drought by identifying the expansion of drylands”, to “combating sand and dust storms and other increasing disaster risks”, and to “addressing forced migration and displacement caused by desertification and land degradation”.
Ibrahim Thiam, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, stressed the importance of restoring degraded land in the fight against climate change.

“If we restore land, we reduce (CO2) emissions and bring them back into the soil,” he said at a closing press conference.
The Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, for his part, invited at the closing ceremony “all parties to show efficiency and speed in the implementation of projects already identified and those that will emerge tomorrow”.
The Abidjan COP15 opened on 9 May in the presence of nine African heads of state, who highlighted the negative effects of drought and desertification on their continent and the “urgent need” to remedy them.

The host of the summit, President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, stressed that the conference was being held “in the context of a climate emergency that is severely impacting our land management policies and exacerbating the phenomenon of drought.

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, noted the “lengthening of the dry seasons” in Africa and the “advance of the Sahara and Kalahari deserts”.

In a video message, French President Emmanuel Macron said that “desertification has the face of more than 3.2 billion people living on degraded land around the world. There is an urgent need to act”.
“Desertification and land degradation are not inevitable. These crises are not irreversible and solutions exist,” he added.


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