Future Policy Award 2017: Desertification

Future Policy Award 2017: Winners will be announced on 22 August!

We must not let our future dry out! This year we are celebrating the world’s best laws and policies to combat desertification, among the most pressing challenges of our time and one of the world’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Desertification and land degradation are among the greatest environmental challenges of our time and a threat to food security, livelihoods and health of hundreds of millions of people. Drylands cover over 30% of the Earth’s land and are extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation, inappropriate land use and climate variability.

Political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all contribute to desertification, which UNCCD describes as “a silent, invisible crisis that is destabilizing communities on a global scale.” Droughts kill more people than any other weather-related catastrophe and can amplify tensions within and between communities. It is estimated that 135 million people are at risk of being displaced by desertification, and drylands are the most conflict-prone regions of the world.

Climate change, and the increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather in arid lands, makes combating desertification even more vital. Restoring degraded land can help it to withstand the impacts of climate change, and has the potential to store up to 3 billion tonnes of carbon annually. Securing healthy and productive land is the key to allowing communities everywhere to not just survive but thrive.

To build a peaceful, just and sustainable future for people in the world’s drylands, and achieve SDG 15.3, decision-makers must enact, implement and expand policies and laws that foster the restoration and sustainable use of land and water resources in affected areas. It is crucial to learn from policies that are already making an impact.

In partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the 2017 Future Policy Award will highlight laws and policies that effectively address land and soil degradation, and the related risks to food security and livelihoods, and help secure a sustainable and just future for people living in the world’s drylands.

On 27th June 2017 an international jury reviewed the evaluation report produced by the World Future Council’s research department and decided upon the shortlisted candidates. Check out the shortlist that has already been announced!

Out of a total of nominated twenty-seven policies and initiatives from 18 countries, six policies and one international initiative are contending for the Future Policy Award 2017 for the world’s best policies to combat desertification and land degradation.

Among the shortlisted policies are:

  • Australia’s Indigenous Protected Areas programme and Working on Country Indigenous Rangers programme,
  • Brazil’s Cistern Programme and the National Programme to Support Rainwater Harvesting and Other Social Technologies for Access to Water,
  • China’s Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Desertification,
  • Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Conservation-Based Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization supported by Mass Mobilization Campaigns and the Youth Responsive Land Policy More People Less Erosion,
  • the international 4 per 1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate,
  • Jordan’s Updated Rangeland Strategy for Jordan, and
  • Niger’s 3N Initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens’ – Strategy for food security, nutrition, and sustainable agricultural development.

The winners of the Future Policy Gold, Silver, Bronze and Vision Award will be announced on 22 August.

Winning Policies will be celebrated at the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties, Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China in September 2017 as part of our collaboration with UNCCD.

  • © Javier Pedro Fernández Ferreras – Mali

  • Desertification