Tuesday March 5th, 2024
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Largest UN Conference on Land & Drought Will Be Hosted in Riyadh

Notably, 2024 also signifies the 30th anniversary of the UNCCD, a significant milestone in the realm of environmental treaties.

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Largest UN Conference on Land & Drought Will Be Hosted in Riyadh

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has signed an agreement with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to organise the 16th session of COP16 in Riyadh from December 2nd to the 13th, 2024.

The event is poised to be the largest-ever meeting of UNCCD’s 197 Parties and the first to be held in the Middle East. Notably, 2024 also signifies the 30th anniversary of the UNCCD, a significant milestone in the realm of environmental treaties, alongside climate change and biodiversity conventions.

UNCCD's data underscores a pressing global issue: up to 40% of the world's land is degraded, impacting half of humanity and posing severe consequences for climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods. Addressing this challenge is imperative, and current trends indicate the necessity of restoring 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030 for a world that is free from land degradation.

Meanwhile, the rise in droughts globally by 29% since 2000 is attributed to climate change and land management practices. Already affecting one-quarter of the world's population, projections indicate that three out of four people globally will face water scarcity by 2050.

The Riyadh COP16 focuses on mobilising governments, businesses and communities worldwide. Its primary aim is to expedite action on land restoration and enhance drought resilience, recognizing these endeavours as fundamental cornerstones for ensuring food, water and energy security.

The two-week event encompasses a high-level segment along with associated events such as the Gender Caucus and the Business for Land Forum. Set against the backdrop of Riyadh, the most water-scarce region severely affected by desertification and land degradation, COP16 is poised to be a platform showcasing ongoing efforts in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and beyond.

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