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China Realizes Land Degradation Neutrality

Jun 19, 2020

Land desertification brings serious ecological and environmental challenges, threatening the survival and development of 3.2 billion people worldwide. As a response, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification was adopted in 1994, and the concept of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) was adopted in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is enshrined in Target 15.3: “by 2030, combat desertification, and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world”.

On June 17, the 26th World’s Desertification and Drought Day, The CAS “ Big Earth Data Science Engineering” Program (CASEarth) released their research results of using big Earth data in support of land degradation neutrality assessment along Belt and Road Region.

The report shows that China has achieved land degradation neutrality in advance, and the net land restoration area accounts for 18.24% of the world's total, ranking first in the world, and contributing greatly to global land degradation neutrality.

However, global land degradation is still prominent. There are still 32 countries in the world where the area of land degradation is larger than the area of land restoration. These countries mainly distributed in Central Asia and Africa.

Prof. GUO Huadong, chair of the CASEarth, reviewed that China has made remarkable contribution in the prevention and control of desertification. Guo also pointed out that the lack of data is the main challenge in assessing UN indicators of land degradation neutrality, and he urged joint efforts to make full use of the Big Earth Data for better land management worldwide.