The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative is on the ball after a successful and eventful International Year of Soils, attested by an expanding list of publications, studies and capacity building activities that bring the international society closer to achieving a dynamic equilibrium between man, land and land-based ecosystems.
In May this year, the ELD Initiative held its Strategy Workshop in Bangkok, aiming at developing a roadmap for future action. This was followed up in June by a side event at the 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, held jointly with the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The side event focused specifically on Land Degradation Neutrality and its vital contribution to sustainable growth, as well as its effect on the economies of countries within Central Asia and Georgia. Hannes Etter from the ELD Secretariat further discussed the potential for and mobilisation of investment in sustainable land management, and its alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.
July saw the ELD Initiative present to the European Commission at a cross-cutting policy debate on ‘Land degradation, climate change and migration - Challenges for the EU and Africa’. An upcoming meeting in Myanmar will have the ELD discussing the Interim Report on Insights from Partial Data Analysis concerning its work in Southeast Asia.
On a different note, the ELD Initiative conducted a study on the consequences of the frequent use of agricultural fires in Georgia. The final report and additional case studies are soon to be released. Additionally, in a series of short films presenting successful examples of sustainable land management, a new ELD Initiative video clip will soon be released, explaining the current issue in Georgia and findings up until present.
In line with ELD’s commitment to support learning, a new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) curriculum is being developed for a course through the Academy for Business and Landscapes, a partnership of ELD, Rotterdam School of Management, UNU-INWEH, Commonland and other contributing partners. The course is to be launched at the beginning of 2017, continuing the legacy of previous ELD digital learning activities.
September will bring in showers of excitement as the ELD Initiative takes part in the 2016 World Conservation Congress, the world’s largest event of its kind, happening in Hawai’i. The ELD Initiative will be delivering a number of presentations on the topic: ‘Estimating the benefits of conservation and sustainable land management’ in cooperation with numerous partner organizations.
Other ELD activities and studies are currently underway or planned in Southeast Asia, Benin, India, Namibia and Central Asia through the extensive ELD network of partner institutions and experts, coordinated by the ELD Secretariat and its scientific coordination. Stay tuned!