Scaling-Up Investment into Land Restoration

Getting the biggest bang for the buck
Sep 27, 2017 9:15 AM ET

As originally posted on

Land degradation has long been recognized as a major problem which threatens ecological health, social stability and economic prosperity. For several decades, a series of solutions have been devised and attempted with varying degrees of success. However, efforts to combat land degradation have been hampered by a lack of resources and the sheer scale of the problem. According to the UNCCD’s new flagship publication, the Global Land Outlook, from 1998 to 2013 approximately 20 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated land surface declined in productivity; and 1.3 billion people, most of whom live in developing countries, currently live on degrading agricultural land.

Two of the biggest challenges facing efforts aimed at avoiding, reducing or reversing land degradation are therefore how to tackle degradation at a massive scale, and how to ensure that any investment generates the ‘biggest bang for the buck’. This was the subject of an event at the recent UNCCD COP13 in Ordos, China, and which was organized jointly by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the European Commission (EC), and the Economics of Land Degradation initiative (ELD) on 13 September. The event took place at the outset of a new European Union-funded project aimed at uncovering pathways for large-scale restorations across the world.

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