Land Degradation Neutrality

Land Degradation Neutrality

Conveners: Linda Maring and Berien Elbersen

In 2015 the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a set of 17 goals aimed to be the roadmap for society to move from exploitation to sustainable use of our planet’s resources and from inequality, poverty and hunger to a proper education and good life for all. The EU has committed to implement the SDGs both in its internal and external policies. Land and soil are mentioned in some SDGs, but not expressed in their indicators.

A robust soil-water system is essential to achieve most of those SDGs. Generally, it is acknowledged that the water-land-soil system plays an important role for SDG 15, especially SDG15.3, “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. The concept of Land degradation is not easy to grasp and needs further study and discussion in addition to what has already been developed by several parties. Ideally neutrality would be integrated into existing policies and land use planning processes and implemented by existing institutions. LDN cannot be seen as a stand-alone goal but should be embedded into other SDGs.

Since many claims on land and soils are made at the same time, it is necessary to have more insights in these claims, potential synergies and trade-offs. However, in many governance and regulatory documents the necessity to conserve this integrated picture of a healthy, properly functioning soil is not reflected, and therefore not addressed in a sufficient way. Therefore, urgent action is needed to implement Sustainable land management to conserve and restore land resources. For this we need a platform to discuss land and soil-related SDGs in the EU, in particular on the Land Degradation Neutrality target (15.3), which will provide the possibility to exchange ideas and progress on best practices between the MS on the implementation of land and soil-related SDGs. In this session we hope to find discussion partners for this issue. We invite all people (scientists, policy makers and practitioners) to participate in this session.