Climate Action

COP15 desertification conference: new frameworks to reverse biodiversity loss and deforestation

COP15 has created opportunities for new frameworks to reverse biodiversity loss and deforestation.

COP15 has created opportunities for new frameworks to reverse biodiversity loss and deforestation. Image: UNCCD.

Alassane Dramane Ouattara
President of Côte d'Ivoire, Office of the President of Côte d'Ivoire
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Climate Action?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of the Environment is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of the Environment

Listen to the article

  • Land degradation is accelerating a sixth mass species extinction and is costing more than 10% of world annual GDP, according to the United Nations.
  • Côte d’Ivoire recently hosted the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
  • New frameworks were launched to help restore forests and land, boost food production, create jobs for young people and lift rural women out of poverty.

COP15 has created opportunities for new frameworks to reverse biodiversity loss and deforestation. The world is approaching the point of no return in land degradation, desertification and deforestation, but we can reverse it if we act now. Soil degradation affects 52% of all agricultural land, threatening the very existence of 2.6 billion people who depend directly on agriculture for their livelihoods. We are losing on average 12 million hectares of land each year due to desertification and drought. This is the equivalent of nearly 23 hectares per minute. More than 74% of the world’s poorest populations are directly affected by land degradation.

Have you read?

In terms of loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, land degradation is pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction and is costing more than 10% of world annual GDP, according to the United Nations.

Moreover, with the world population set to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, water security is another key area of concern, directly impacting global food security. This increase in population, particularly in Africa, will put additional pressure on natural resources such as land, forests, and water sources.

African nations are facing an acute climate crisis

In West Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), warns that the desert is expanding by 5 kms each year in semi-arid zones. In Côte d'Ivoire, the crisis is acute, with desertification and drought affecting 60% of our national territory, largely in the northern regions. Our forest area has dwindled from 16 million hectares in the 1900s to a mere 2.9 million hectares in 2021.

The impact on our agriculture and agro-industry sectors has been profound, threatening the very foundation of our national economy, and posing threats to our energy and health security, with long term ramifications on peace and progress. Many African nations face similar challenges.

Discover

How is the World Economic Forum fighting the climate crisis?

Current global restoration commitments cover around one billion hectares, requiring investments of between $300 billion and $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. The costs are highest for sub-Saharan Africa which is home to half of all restoration commitments. As a scale of reference, the government of Côte d'Ivoire has launched initiatives to recover 3 million hectares of forest by 2030, a task that will cost up over $1.1 billion. These costs, as is for many African countries, are prohibitively expensive.

This kind of spending was envisaged in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement when developed nations committed $100 billion annually to help developing countries succeed in their adaptation to climate change and the energy transition. It is therefore essential that we accelerate the implementation of these decisions and agree on a cost-sharing mechanism to protect the earth’s lands from further degradation. Developed countries must further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and keep their commitments.

Loading...

What frameworks were agreed at COP15?

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has said that every dollar invested in restoring our land can generate up to $30 in benefits. Key donor initiatives such as the IMF’s Trust Fund for Resilience and Sustainability, the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are all designed to support global collaboration to reverse the devastating impact of land degradation in the most vulnerable parts of the world.

Last month, between 9-20 May, Côte d’Ivoire hosted the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) with a summit of 25 heads of state and government. Themed ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity', the conference was a call to action to reverse the catastrophic cocktail of land degradation, deforestation and desertification that is fuelling conflict, poverty, hunger, and migration in the most vulnerable populations around the world.

Heads of State at the Abidjan COP15 conference agreed on major decisions to invest in land restoration and drought mitigation. Image source: Government of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.
Heads of State at the Abidjan COP15 conference agreed on major decisions to invest in land restoration and drought mitigation. Image source: Government of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.

At COP15, Côte d’Ivoire launched a new global cooperation framework, called the Abidjan Legacy Programme to restore forests and land, boost food production, create jobs for young people and lift rural women out of poverty. The extensive and innovative programme will deploy advanced technologies such as tree-planting drones, drought-resistant plant varieties, and modern irrigation techniques over a period of five years between 2022 and 2027. To implement the programme, Côte d'Ivoire raised over $2.5 billion worth of commitments from international donors, exceeding the initial target of $1.5 billion.

We now have concrete frameworks to put this funding to work to address catastrophic land degradation and deforestation. We must act now as a collective global force to reinstate our lands and forests. We also need to mobilize private sector partnerships across global agriculture value chains to invest in the restoration of our land ecosystems.

COP15 was a pivotal moment where the world came together to share the burden of saving our land and giving hope to our farmers, reversing catastrophic degradation and deforestation, and solving one of the most urgent challenges of our time.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Climate ActionNature and Biodiversity
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Climate transition plans: CEOs on how to deliver more than just net-zero

Pim Valdre and Nicolas Salomon

June 19, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum