Dr. Ishwaran at Meeting in Seoul


Dr. Natarajan Ishwaran of HIST/AIR was invited as an expert to the Consultative Meeting on a Sustainable Development Goal on Land Degradation Neutral World (LDNW) and on the associated target of Zero Net Land degradation (ZNLD) convened in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 26 and 27 June 2013.

The Meeting was organized under the auspices of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Dr. Jia Xiaoxia, Director, Secretariat of China National Committee for Implementation of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCICCD), National Bureau to Combat Desertification, State Forestry Administration of China was elected Chairperson of the Consultative Meeting.

At the Rio+20 Summit held in Brazil in June 2012, Governments of the world agreed to work towards a “land degradation neutral world” in the context of sustainable development. Zero net land degradation (ZNLD) is a target that nations have committed to achieve at global, national and local levels. The consultative meeting discussed issues and problems linked to attaining LDNW and ZNLD and the recommendations of the Meeting will be submitted to the forthcoming Conference of Parties of UNCCD due to be convened in Namibia in September 2013.

LDNW and ZNLD are important global targets that could be given due consideration by HIST and AIR in their work on to arid, semi-arid and drylands. AIR hosted the 3rd International Symposium on Earth Observations for arid and semi-arid regions (ISEO3) in Kashi, Xinjiang, in September 2012. ISEO4 will be hosted by Kyrgyztan in September 2014 and AIR is providing technical support and advisory services to the organization of that event. Using earth observations for measuring and monitoring land degradation targets at global, national and local level could be an example of a theme that AIR may consider for inclusion in ISEO4.

UNESCO World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves in arid, semi-arid and dryland habitats could serve as pilot sites for experimenting with tools and techniques for minimizing degradation of land and restoration of degraded land. Xinjiang Tianshan, which was included in the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session hosted by Cambodia from 17 to 27 June, is a site in predominantly arid and semi-arid territories; one of the six national parks that constitute Xinjiang, Tianshan World Heritage site is the Bogeda Biosphere Reserve. There are many other World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites and biosphere reserves that that occur in “hot-arid and dry” climates in North Africa and the Arab States as well as in “cold-arid” ecosystems in northern and western China, Mongolia, Central Asia and Russia.

Collaboration with UNCCD, headquartered in Bonn, Germany and CICCCD which coordinates UNCCD activities in China can provide opportunities for HIST/AIR to promote use of earth observations for monitoring progress in attaining global targets linked to land degradation. HIST/AIR could also facilitate World Heritage sites and biosphere reserves in the integrated applications of satellite, air and ground based data for minimizing land degradation and restoring degraded lands. HIST/AIR intends to explore such possibilities for collaboration with CICCCD and UNCCD in the build up to the ISEO4 event in September 2014; ISEO4 will be convened at the Issykul Lake Biosphere reserve of Kyrgyztan.

Dr. Ishwaran of HIST/AIR with Dr. Jia Xiaoxia, Director of CCICCCD and Chair of the Consultative Meeting held in Seoul, Republic of Korea and Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD.

Dr. Ishwaran and Dr. Jia Xiaoxia with Dr. Sergio Zellaya, UNCCD Coordinator for Policy Advocacy on Global Issues and Platforms