Healthy land is the foundation of basic human needs. When it is managed sustainably, it provides a wide range of ecosystem services such as food, fiber, fuel and water. It is an important resource for economic growth and social prosperity.
Land is also an essential asset for business. Its degradation creates risks to sectors ranging from agriculture and forestry through to any company with global value chains, such as retail, mining, energy or insurance. Restoring the health and productivity of land resources presents multiple business opportunities.
Some 25% of usable land is degraded globally, representing an estimated economic loss of US$ 40 billion/year. An additional 12 million hectares (the size of South Africa) are subject to further degradation every year. Land is under immense pressure and potentially unable to meet the demands of the growing population.
Land degradation has a direct impact on a company's cost structure and profitability. Yet sustainable land management can deliver up to US$ 1.4 trillion in increased global crop production. Additionally, restoring the 12 million hectares degraded each year could secure the cost-efficient sequestration of 20% of global CO2 emissions over two decades.
We focus on restoring degraded land in order to help members better understand the risks and opportunities. The work program is structured around the international discussions on land degradation neutrality led by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).