Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The mandate of the Convention and its 197 Parties is to support “a future that avoids, minimizes, and reverses desertification/land degradation and mitigates the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels – and to achieve a land degradation-neutral world consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Conflicts over natural resources are among key peace and security challenges of the twentyfirst century. With the right approach, cooperation in the management of natural resources can offer countries recovering from fragility and conflict an opportunity to achieve stability and trust while re-building livelihoods and economies. To meet this need, the new Peace Forest Initiative (PFI) is designed to promote cooperation between countries to rehabilitate degraded ecosystem including land and forest in fragile and post-conflict locations while promoting peace and confidence.
The PFI was launched at a high-level event on 10 September 2019 during the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 14) of the UNCCD held in New Delhi, India. The Initiative was welcomed by the Conference of Parties for its potential contribution to increasing cooperation on LDN among participating countries. The COP requested the UNCCD secretariat to continue to develop partnerships to support the implementation of the Convention and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets derived from SDG target 15.3. The PFI is meant to serve as a partnership framework to facilitate exchanges and joint action
on ecosystem restoration including LDN implementation in fragile and post-conflict areas through transboundary environmental cooperation. The PFI aims to help improve the basic living conditions of populations affected by land degradation and contribute to achieving the SDGs (1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 15, 16). LDN and SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) can also be effectively linked through the PFI.
The UNCCD secretariat seeks an experienced and highly motivated communications strategist to develop an advocacy strategy with comprehensive action plans for the PFI, supporting outreach to the right audience through global campaigns, and communicating strong and compelling narratives on the linkages between ecosystem restoration, including sustainable land and forest management, and peace and security, with a view to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, where the PFI could be a flagship activity in demonstrating these linkages.