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UNCCD, ELD, WBCSD and UNGC Organize Discussions on Private Sector and SLM

Global CompactUNCCD logoeldWBCSD19 March 2014: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the UN Global Compact (UNGC) co-organized three workshops to discuss how the private sector can support decision making for sustainable land management (SLM) and use.

Representatives from the private sector, consulting agencies, research institutions and intergovernmental organizations participated in the events, which took place from 11-13 March 2014, in Bonn, Germany. The agenda included the consideration of a recent economic analysis by the ELD on business exposure to the risks of land degradation and the benefits of SLM, based on ELD's brief titled 'Opportunity Lost.' Participants also discussed a training programme to be used in the Soil Leadership Academy, which was launched in September 2013 during the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (UNCCD COP 11).

The 'ELD for the Private Sector Workshop' sought to define elements that will help companies implement and scale-up solutions to land degradation. The 'UNCCD Soil Leadership Academy Workshop' sought to explore the details of curriculum development. And the 'UNGC Principles for Sustainable Soil Management Workshop' sought to provide feedback for the ongoing process to develop Global Principles for Sustainable Soil Management, which will seek to build on the model of the Food and Agriculture Business Principles.

Participants agreed to develop a toolkit for the private sector for SLM and identified further steps for engaging the private sector. They proposed a timeline to begin training in 2015, and suggested using simulation exercises, case studies, field demonstrations, videos and smartphone applications, among other techniques. In addition, participants commented on the draft UNGC principles.

Another meeting is expected to take place at the end of June 2014 and this process, according to the head of the ELD Initiative, Mark Schauer, will be integrated "into a working group, which will contribute to the publication of the ELD Business Report in 2015.” Furthermore, WBCSD will present the outcomes at a constituency meeting in April. [UNCCD News Report][ELD Initiative News Report][WBCSD work on food and biomaterial solutions][Land Policy & Practice story on the launch of the Soil Leadership Academy][Land Policy & Practice coverage of the ELD Initiative] [ELD Workshop Report]