Prelims level : Climate Change and its Impact Mains level : Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation
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  • 14th    Session  of  Conference  of United   Nations   Convention Desertification  will  be  held  in between September 2 and 14.


  • One-third  of   the  Earth’s  land degraded,  affecting  more than people  and  costing  us  as  much  as  $10.6 trillion every year in lost ecosystem services.
  • It is estimated that up to 40% of the world’s agricultural land is seriously degraded. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) came into force in 1996. Global Environment Facility (GEF) serves as a financial mechanism.

What is land Degradation?

  • Land degradation is caused by multiple forces, including extreme weather conditions particularly drought, and human activities that pollute or degrade the quality of soils and land utility negatively affecting food production, livelihoods, and the production and provision of other ecosystem goods and services.

Causes of Land Degradation:

  • Climate Change,
  • Land clearance and deforestation,
  • Depletion of soil nutrients through poor farming practices,
  • Overgrazing and over grafting
  • Water Erosion is the most Prominent Reason of Land Degradation.

Consequences of Land Degradation:

  • Decline in the productive capacity of the land (temporary or permanent) Decline in the land’s “usefulness”.
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Increased vulnerability of the environment or people to destruction or crisis Destruction of soil structure including loss of organic matter.

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN):

  • A state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.

UN Environment has played a key Role in:

  • Negotiating and informing policy for the Convention.
  • Providing sound science-to-policy linkages to decision makers Developing the Performance Review and Assessment of Implementation System (PRAIS) online reporting tool in support of the Convention

Technical Expertise and Resources:

  • Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands
  • Community Innovations in Sustainable Land Management: lessons from the field in Africa.


  • Sustainable  Development  Goal  15  of  the  2030  Agenda  aims  to  “protect,  restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Indian Initiative:

  • India launched a flagship project for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). This comes in line with the Bonn challenge.
  • Under the project, India aims to enhance the capacity of its forest land restoration programmes. Initially, FLR will be implemented under pilot phase of 3.5 years in five states. The states are Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland and Karnataka.
  • The IUCN through this project aims to develop and adapt best practices and monitoring protocols for Indian states and build capacity within these states. The project will be later scaled up across the country.

What is FLR?

  • Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is the ongoing process of regaining ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being across deforested or degraded forest landscapes.
  • A  2016  report  of  ISRO  acknowledged  that  29%  of  India’s  land  being  degraded  with  an increase of 0.57% from 2003-05.

What is Bonn Challenge?

  • The  Bonn  Challenge  is  a  global  effort  to  bring  150  million  hectares  of  the  world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. It was launched in 2011 by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and later endorsed and extended by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.
  • Underlying the Bonn Challenge is the forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach, which aims to restore ecological integrity at the same time as improving human well-being through multifunctional landscapes.



  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: 17 June.
  • The  World  Day  to  Combat  Desertification  and  Drought  2019  theme  is  ‘Let’s Grow the Future Together’.
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