Blog Post

As scientific coordinators for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative, UNU-INWEH’s Dr. Richard Thomas and Dr. Emmanuelle Quillérou are at the Eleventh Conference of Parties for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP11) in Windhoek, Namibia for the launch of the ELD Interim Report.

Economic benefits obtained from investing in and applying sustainable land management are often greater than the costs of taking action to prevent and/or reverse land degradation. The ELD Initiative Interim Report reveals that even with incomplete assessments of the total value of ecosystem services provided by land, such investments are socially and environmentally beneficial. In particular, African, Asian, and Central and South American countries need to build their capacity to assess the true economic-value of their land. Current case studies indicate that much of the work in these areas has been undertaken by foreign scientists with limited local involvement. The ELD Initiative will incorporate capacity building activities into its projects to ensure qualified personnel are available in affected countries.

There are several options and pathways to address land degradation. Examples include: reforestation, adopting sustainable agriculture, and establishing alternative non-agricultural livelihoods (i.e., eco-tourism). Many economic instruments are available to accomplish this, including: payments for ecosystem services, subsidies, taxes, access to micro-finance and credit, etc. Changes require an enabling environment that has removed technical, political, legal, cultural, social, and environmental barriers. These complementary actions must be sustainable, locally targeted, and provide incentives for appropriate economic action. To achieve this, the ELD Initiative aims to engage an all-encompassing range of stakeholders in discussions.

The ELD Initiative will build upon existing methodologies and assessments to design a comprehensive, global, and scalable toolbox for the outlined goals, highlighted in 3 separate reports aimed at the private sector, decision-makers, and the scientific community.

To read the news release for the report in full, click here.

Learn more about the ELD here.

Download the ELD Interim Report Brochure here.

Download the full ELD Interim Report here.