Sustainable Development Goal 15.3

‘By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.’

Land and land-based resources are the foundation for food security, economic growth, rural employment and development. However, these terrestrial ecosystems and their services are threatened by land degradation, deforestation and desertification, driven by demographic growth, an increasing demand for food and unsustainable agricultural practices.

Every minute we are losing fertile land the size of 26 football fields. ELD Initiative estimates the global loss of ecosystem service values costs between USD 6.3 and 10.6 trillion annually (ELD, The Value of Land, 2015).

Inequitable effects of land degradation

Land degradation and desertification disproportionately impact the most vulnerable – the rural poor. At most risk are the communities in developing countries who depend heavily on land and its services for a living.

Africa could lose 280 million tons of cereal crops per year, which is equivalent to USD 127 billion per year.

ELD Initiative’s contribution to SDG 15.3

Harmonised activities of the ELD Initiative support the SDGs by providing scientific knowledge and economic approaches to sustainable land management and development through cost benefit analyses and other applicable economic tools, and scalable frameworks to action.

ELD Initiative has demonstrated that sustainable land management (SLM) can be profitable at all scales and within a relatively short time horizon. A concerted effort to scale up SLM would certainly help achieving a number of the critical post-2015 SDGs, as well as supporting the G7 commitment that aims to lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. The continued availability of productive land and soil would also offer significant co-benefits measurable in economic terms.

Roles and Interlinkages of soils and land in the Sustainable Development Goals (IASS (2015)38)