ELD Writeshop 2023: Advancing the economics of land degradation and sustainable land management

Participants of the Writeshop

Writeshop participants at the UCL Campus

From 31st July to 4th August 2023, leading experts from the ELD Working Group came together at the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity in London during the ELD Writeshop 2023. The writeshop provided space for joint deliberations, discussions, and co-creation to work on scientific papers that address key knowledge gaps of the economics of land degradation and sustainable land management.

More than a decade of implementation of the ELD Initiative and like-minded projects have demonstrated that many sustainable land management practices are financially and / or economically viable thus in principle making the case for large-scale adoption. But since adoption lacks far behind of what would be necessary, barriers and how to overcome them need to be better considered [1].

At the same time did the international community reaffirm its commitment to restore one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 at the 2022 UNCCD COP 15 in Abidjan. The major challenge going forward hence is to support decision-makers in translating the awareness, commitments, and visions for preserving the benefits of land in real political action, changes in enabling environments and a mobilization of investments [2].

The overall ambition is the transformation of land use systems and in particular the agri-food system to tackle land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change and to preserve the natural capital that these systems depend on.

Against this background, members of the ELD Working Group produced outlines for three distinct and complementary papers that will contribute to advancing the thematic field of the ELD Initiative.

The topics of the papers are:

  1. Barriers, Solutions, Knowledge Gaps: Stakeholder Perspectives on the Economics of Land Degradation and Sustainable Land Management
  2. Benefits, Costs, and Returns of Investing in Sustainable Land Management
  3. The Potential of Common Asset Trusts for Sustainable Land Stewardship in Ethiopia



The ELD Writeshop 2023 was organized and funded by the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It was hosted at the University College London (UCL), Institute for Global Prosperity, and facilitated by Prof. Robert Costanza (UCL and Co-Chair of the ELD Working Group). The ELD Initiative is grateful to the manifold in-kind contributions of the members of its ELD Working Group.

The ELD Writeshop 2023 contributed to the ELD Working Group’s objective “linking science to policy and practice for sustainable land management”. More information about the ELD Working Group.




[1] ELD Initiative (2020). Findings and Lessons Learnt from Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Country Studies. Synthesis Report on the ELD Initiative in connection with the «Reversing Land Degradation in Africa by Scaling Up Evergreen Agriculture» Project. Available at: www.eld-initiative.org

[2] ELD Initiative (2022). Main take-aways from UNCCD COP 15 for ELD. Blog. Available at: Main take-aways from UNCCD COP 15 for ELD - ELD Initiative (eld-initiative.org)