Caux Dialogue on Land and Security 2015

Grounding Sustainable Development


2015 is being quoted as one of the most important years yet in international governance, as the World meets twice, first in September in New York to agree on the newly proposed UN Sustainable Development Goals and then during the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 21st conference of the parties (COP21) in December in Paris where countries will establish a binding climate agreement, limiting countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Both these international summits have Sustainable Development at their heart and share the idea that combatting poverty and climate change must be dealt with together. In the added context of the Food and Agriculture Organizations’ (FAO) International Year of Soils, land degradation is therefore considered one of the most important issues of the 21st century, providing food security and also carbon sequestration. In 2011, Luc Gnacadja former UNCCD Executive Secretary said that only “six to ten inches of top soil separate mankind from extinction”. Today, this is relevant more than ever.

Indeed, while the World is tackling three crises at once, economic, social and environmental and with the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, there is a much greater risk. Resource scarcity is becoming a driver of migration and conflict, and thus restoring land provides not only food security, but has been proved to also prevent war. In a more dangerous geopolitical context, building trust between communities is therefore of utmost importance. Since 2011, restoring land to build peace has been the message of the Initiatives for Land, Lives, and Peace (ILLP), working together with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCDD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Through an international forum, the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS), ILLP has been successful at gathering stakeholders to tackle desertification in a holistic and inclusive manner, to address sustainable land management, and to prevent conflicts, simultaneously, under the same framework.

The CDLS welcomes a wide mix of individuals from different United Nations organizations, from several dozen NGOs, from civil society at large, with the exclusive participation of governments, students, farmers, policymakers, finance and business communities. By adopting a wide approach, combining the environment, development and humanitarian agendas, the message of this year’s edition of the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security is clear: to place land as high as possible on the SDG and climate agendas, in order to ‘ground’ sustainable development and root it firmly in the soil, in the literal and true sense of the word.

This year, there will be a strong emphasis on the importance of a relationship-based approach to scaling up land restoration. Building bridges across fields of expertise and otherwise closed silos is a concept very much rooted in the Initiatives of Change and ILLP approach and is being increasingly recognized as relevant. The event will begin on the evening of the 10th July and will extend over five days until the morning of the 14th, with panels taking place in the morning and a selection of workshops in the afternoon with a wide range of individuals with technical knowledge of sustainable land management, water, agriculture, policy, trade and economics, and organizations who will present solutions.

The conference will also have an exciting evening programme: an initiatives fair of NGOs on the 11th, a fireside conversation with youth and environmental leaders on the 12th, the book launch of ‘Land Restoration: Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future’ and the exclusive world premiere of the film ‘Ethiopia Rising’ by Mark Dodd (author of The Man who Stopped the Desert) on the 13th.



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