The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found. In the 10-Year Strategy of the UNCCD (2008-2018) Parties to the Convention further specified their goals: "to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas in order to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability".
The Global Mechanism is the institution of the UNCCD mandated to assist countries in the mobilization of financial resources from the public and private sector for activities that prevent, control or reverse desertification, land degradation and drought. As the operational arm of the convention, the Global Mechanism supports countries to translate the Convention into action and to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality at the national level.
In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, including goal 15, which 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”. As main expected results it defines under target 15.3 to “combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradationneutral world” by 2030. Responding to this global challenge, in October 2015, the 12th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) of the UNCCD, organized in Ankara, Turkey, agreed to: - Define Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and endorse the concept as a strong vehicle for driving implementation of the UNCCD;
- Invite country Parties to formulate national voluntary targets to achieve LDN and to integrate LDN targets into UNCCD National Action Programmes;
- Establish LDN partnerships recognizing the unique role of UNCCD in addressing target 15.3 and the contributions required from other bodies, agencies and Conventions to achieve LDN.
To ensure the implementation of these decisions, the UNCCD Global Mechanism developed the Land Degradation Neutrality target setting program, which objective is to help countries in establishing national voluntary targets for LDN and identifying transformative projects to achieve these targets. The intern will support the implementation of this program by providing assistance in analysing biophysical and socio economic data with the purpose of developing arguments that showcase the multiple benefits of investing in land.