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Open discussion on Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Target setting in SDG Implementation: Science-Policy-Practice Interface

Invitation to an open discussion on the significance of national Land Degradation Neutrality Target (LDN) setting in the acceleration of SDG implementation: The science-policy-practice interface.

As part of the substantive discussions expected to take place at the 15th session of the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention [to Combat Desertification] (CRIC 15), to be convened in Nairobi from 18-20 October 2016, the BES-Net Team invites you to share your experience and opinions on the progress towards delivering land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets as part of the SDG implementation agenda, in particular SDG 15.3 – ‘By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world’. The indicator adopted to measure the achievement of this SDG target is ‘Proportion of land that is degraded’. This discussion is targeting to harness the potential that science brings to the policy and practice arena.

The 12th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in 2015, endorsed SDG target 15.3 and the concept of land degradation neutrality (LDN) as a strong vehicle for driving the implementation of the Convention. It invited all UNCCD country Parties to formulate voluntary targets to achieve LDN and requested UNCCD bodies to provide “guidance for formulating national LDN targets and initiatives” and facilitate “the use of the UNCCD indicator framework as a contribution to the monitoring, evaluation and communication of progress towards the national LDN targets”. The Global Mechanism (GM) of the UNCCD established a LDN target setting programme to support countries in this exercise; this is being undertaken in partnership with IUCN and UNDP.

LDN target setting is not a stand-alone process but should be embedded in overarching national development policy processes and programmes; it also embeds a significant component of science in the measurement and application of technologies and innovations to achieve LDN. Country ownership and involvement of all stakeholders and sectors (including scientists, policy makers and practitioners) impacting land-based natural capital are required to allow the target setting process to contribute to Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is within this complex and comprehensive development space that you are invited to contribute your thoughts and experiences on the LDN concept and target setting exercise; kindly share case studies where available. Information shared here will be complied and shared through the BES-Net Web Portal to help countries gauge their own progress against their peers, learn both ‘good and bad’ practice lessons, and help experts and practitioners identify and discuss gaps. Discussions here could also help countries in their substantive engagements at CRIC 15.


  1. How can the LDN target setting initiative contribute to resilience building of countries that are affected by protracted stress and shocks (climate and conflict related)?
  2. What innovative financing mechanisms can countries use (for the LDN target setting exercise) to support the achievement of the LDN targets (e.g., taxes, private sector, trust funds)?
  3. How can the private sector be incentivized to finance LDN initiatives?
  4. Is LDN target setting in line or in contradiction with national and/or sectoral growth policies and programmes (mining, agriculture, industrialization…)? How can these be implemented and still achieve LDN?
  5. Who is the ultimate beneficiary when LDN development path ways are implemented?
  6. What challenges and opportunities (from experience, and perceived) are to be expected in the implementation of LDN targets (setting)?
  7. What multiple environmental and developmental benefits does the LDN agenda bring with it?
  8. What is the role of science in the LDN exercise?

We look forward to your contributions over the next week.