The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is an international convention that focuses primarily on addressing land degradation.

UNCCD COP15 scenePhoto: IISD/ENB

The UNCCD has been ratified by 196 states plus the European Union. In 2015, parties to the convention adopted Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) as a primary goal of the UNCCD. This is aligned with SDG Target 15.3.

IUCN has a long-standing partnership with the UNCCD and has actively influenced the evolution of the Convention, including the development, adoption, and implementation of LDN. IUCN is an institutional observer of the Science Policy Interface of the UNCCD, as well as a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force of the UN Decade on Deserts and the Fight against Desertification (UNDDD).

The partnership between the IUCN Secretariat and the UNCCD Secretariat is guided by a Work Plan and Memorandum of Understanding. The Joint Work-Plan 2021-2024 guides the partnership, with the overarching goal to support the achievement of LDN through the application of Nature-based Solutions, noting that they will ensure actions and policies that are gender responsive and transformative, respond to local societal needs, and deployed at sufficient scale.


A delegation of 13 experts, led by Ms Sonia Peña Moreno – Director, International Policy Centre – represented IUCN at the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP15), held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 9 to 20 May 2022, under the theme 'Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity.'

As a partner to the Convention since 2011, IUCN supports progress towards policies and programmes that deliver Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) through the application of nature-based solutions (NbS) as the preferred option for LDN achievement, as it provides a holistic and balanced response and generates multiple benefits for people and nature, addresses SDGs and contributes to poverty reduction. Other important considerations that would help achieve LDN include greater commitment to rangeland and grassland restoration, drought management, and the involvement of all stakeholders and groups.

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Large event | 25 May, 2023
A delegation of 13 experts, led by Ms Sonia Peña Moreno – Director, International Policy Centre –…