Growing political awareness in Durban on the direct interface between climate change and agriculture needs to be backed by economic evidence that investments into land boost development and safeguards global commons. Only such tandem spurs politicians into action.
“We need to raise the political profile of sustainable land and ecosystem management in the international agenda by building a body of scientific evidence of the net socio-economic benefits it can generate for the national and global economy”, declared Mr Simone Quatrini, Programme Coordinator, Policy and Investment Analysis of the Global Mechanism (GM) at the first joint coordination meeting of the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative held in Bonn, Germany, on 18 November 2011.
Further to the signing of the ELD Memorandum of Understanding one month earlier in Changwon (S. Korea), the GM had been invited by the 3 founding members – the European Commission, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification - to join the partnership along with other interested organizations. By virtue of being a member of the OSLO Consortium (Offering Sustainable Land-use Options), the GM will contribute to the ELD initiative through country and regional-level studies on economic valuation of land for increased financial resource allocation for sustainable land management (SLM).
The first coordination meeting follows the launch of the ELD Initiative on 20 September 2011, on the margins of the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on desertification by the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja, the European Union’s Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and German State Secretary for Economic Cooperation and Development, Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz. The event sent a strong signal that the economics of land degradation must become an integral part of policy-making – locally, nationally and internationally.
The OSLO contribution, explained Mr Quatrini, will consist of compiling scientifically peer reviewed methodologies for assessing the economics of terrestrial ecosystems and sustainable land use that are applicable in different contexts and time scales. These methodologies are modular, scalable and adaptable to the complexity of issues in the region concerned – on the basis of which ELD will generate global assessments of the cost of inaction and the benefits of adopting SLM on various scales.
An IFPRI paper, The Economics of Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought, commissioned by ELD on alternative approaches to assess costs of inaction was the starting point for discussion. Now, other ELD partners will engage in the generation of country and regional case studies and in the production of guidance papers for policy makers and for the business sector, following the example set by the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)
For more information:
Mr Simone Quatrini, Coordinator, Policy & Investment Analysis
Tel. +39 06 5459 2154
s.quatrini (at) global-mechanism.org