Muscat, Oman, 26 October 2023 – In a significant move towards fostering regional and global synergy in efforts to reduce land degradation, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE) has officially endorsed the G20 Global Land Initiative during its 34th session held in Muscat, Oman on 26 October 2023. The welcome entailed more than a diplomatic nod as the council went a step further and requested its Secretariat at the League of Arab States and the league’s specialized agencies to engage and collaborate directly with the initiative’s coordination office.
This collaboration, the Council decision states, is set to channel efforts into capacity building, monitoring of land degradation in the Arab region, and awareness raising, among other vital areas.
The endorsement of the G20 Global Land Initiative by CAMRE, a regional environmental body representing the collective voice of Arab nations, accentuates the initiative’s importance on both a global and regional scale and bridges the gap between the G20 Global Land Initiative global objectives and the specific needs and challenges of the Arab region.
“Land degradation, though a global concern, requires nuanced approaches tailored to the specificities of each region. This collaboration ensures that the G20 Global Land Initiative resonate with and address the unique challenges of the Arab world,” says Salma AlSayyad, Policy Officer at the G20 Global Land Initiative Coordination office.
CAMRE decision to rally behind the G20 Global Land Initiative sends a powerful message about the Initiative’s significance and relevance, even at regional levels.
A delegation consisting of Adama Soko, Senior Liaison Officer, Abd Salam El Vilaly, Data Officer, Salma AlSayyad, Policy Officer and Habiba Khiari, Programme Officer represented the UNCCD at the Council meetings. In the opening session of the Ministerial Council’s meeting, Adama Soko, speaking for the UNCCD and representing its Executive Secretary, highlighted the dire situation of land degradation, pointing out that “up to 40% of the global land has been degraded.”
Despite these daunting challenges, Soko conveyed hope, stating: “The remedy is at hand – known as Land Restoration.” He praised the G20 Global Land Initiative’s visionary goal to “halve land degradation by 2040” and emphasized its alignment with the Arab region’s aspirations for sustainable development.
At the Arab Forum for Environment (AFEN 2023) on 24-25 October 2023, preceding the CAMRE meeting, Abd Salam El Vilaly, Data Officer at the Initiative Coordination Office, explored the interconnected relationship between land, food security, and water security. The forum was aptly themed “Together we face Climate Challenges to ensure Water and Food Security.”