Bengaluru, 9 February 2023: “Policy matters! Policy matters!” Andrea Meza, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), stressed this morning during a conversation with students at the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, India.
During the meeting with the students and faculty, Ms. Meza talked about the benefits of restoring land at a very large scale, drawing on the experience of Costa Rica, in Central America.
She said by establishing itself as the first tropical country to stop and reverse deforestation, Costa Rica has successfully showcased the irrelevance of a country’s size or geopolitical strength.
Irrespective of its size, she said, every country can facilitate change, and become a flag bearer of the land restoration movement. That is where policy comes in.
“Everyone, including students shaping their nations’ futures, politicians, academics, the private sector, etc, can make major contributions to bringing about a change.
Ms. Meza, accompanied by Dr Muralee Thummarukudy, Director of the G20 Global Land Initiative Coordination Office, which is hosted by UNCCD, took the opportunity to visit communities and universities in India ahead of the G20 preparatory meetings taking place in Bengaluru.
A massive increase in the technical capacity to restore land is needed, if the G20 Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats (in short G20 Global Land Initiative) launched in 2020 during the Saudi Arabian Presidency is to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in degraded land by 2040.
Therefore, a major objective of the Initiative is training at least one million graduates and professionals in land restoration and conservation and training a new crop of young leaders worldwide, making partnership building with relevant universities a potential area for collaboration.
Ms. Meza also paid a visit yesterday to the Navadarshanam Community, in Bengaluru, where she spoke with villagers and toured their land, which is managed communally and uses cutting edge sustainable land management practices, specifically, regenerative agriculture.
The community uses a mix of practices, including wilderness preservation, alternative energy, sustainable organic farming, water harvesting, health and healing and promoting healthier and traditional foods to meet household needs that go beyond household income.
In 2020, the G20 identified empowering civil society and showcasing success and best practice in land restoration and conservation as critical elements for achieving its 2040 ambition.
Ms. Meza will speak at the 1st Meeting of the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) of the Group of Twenty (G20) taking place from 9-11 February 2023 in Bengaluru, India. The Meetings are convened by the Government of India. India holds the G20 Presidency this year.
Learn more about the G20 Global Land Initiative’s Strategy
Learn more about India’s G20 Presidency
Learn more about the Navadarshanam Community