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Land for the Future: The need for actionable information - recorded

Mon 4 November from 10:30 to 12:30 in Nicholls

Recording: Watch here!



This side event will address the need for strengthened cooperation and coordination among global observing systems and research programmes to provide integrated global observations for improving the health and productivity of land resources -- a prerequisite for reducing poverty, ensuring food and water security, providing jobs and real climate action. The crosscutting nature of the GEO LDN Initiative is part of the GEO global effort to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and address the existential threats of income inequality, climate change and the accelerating degradation and loss of natural resources.

The side event aims to raise awareness of the GEO LDN Initiative and its linkages with other GEO activities, especially on opportunities for EO datasets to provide timely, continuous, high resolution data products and actionable geospatial information for national policymakers as well as local stakeholders to better manage and restore their vital natural capital.


  • Sasha Alexander (Policy Officer at UNCCD)
  • Alexander Zvoleff (Senior Director of Resilience Science Conservation International)
  • Neil Sims (CSIRO and Co-Chair of Working Group 3 of the Geo land Degradation Neutrality Initiative)


Other individuals involved (not presenting)

  • Ante Hecheltjen (Co-Chair Working Group 2 – Germany)
  • Amos Kabobah (Co Chair of Working Group 1 - Ghana)


The GEO Land Degradation Neutrality Initiative (GEO LDN) was created to support countries and other stakeholders in addressing land degradation. It supports capacity, building, standards development, and data analytics, including supporting efforts to measure the condition of land and the three indicators for SDG 15.3.1:

  • Trends in land cover,
  • trends in land productivity, and
  • trends in carbon stocks above and below grounds.


The GEO LDN Initiative will use data (from Earth Observation) to track progress in implementing the UNCCD 2018-30 Strategic Framework, monitoring progress towards LDN and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (particularly SDG indicator 15.3.1).


The Geo LDN Initiative has three working groups:

  1. WG1: Builds capacity at national levels
  2. WG2: develops and reviews existing standards, minimum data quality standard specifications, technical support for setting quality standards and revises good practice guidelines for data.
  3. WG3: establishes a collaborative platform and pilots big data analytics.


As noted by Alex, GEO LDN and tools like Trends.Earth help to democratize access to information, by making satellite-based estimates of change in indicators of land degradation available to those who may have limited expertise in remote sensing. Neil noted it is difficult to get data sets connected and GEO LDN is helping countries by facilitating these connections.  Countries should feel ownership over the SDGSs, and the LDN Initiative supports countries in integrating their own datasets and methodologies while still allowing for assessment of LDN in a standardized way. A future interest of the GEO LDN Initiative is to support using data and data models to help predict areas where land degradation might occur.


Neil noted countries must be able to use their own approaches and local knowledge to identify if an area is degraded but it is necessary to have a framework for a consistent approach.  Neil presented a decision support matrix to help countries interpret the degradation status of areas where remediation activities and the 1OAO framework might lead to counterintuitive degradation outcomes.  This will help countries take the best course of action to neutralize land degradation.



UNCCD, Conservation International, OECD, GIZ (Germany), CSIRO (Australia), Ghana, FAO, UNEP, Agryhmet, CEOS, ESA, GEO Secretariat


Sasha Alexander, UNCCD (


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