Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

The Convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the living conditions of people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation. The UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.

The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build “A future that avoids, minimizes, and reverses desertification/land degradation and mitigates the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels … to achieve a land degradation-neutral world consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.


UNCCD Science-Policy Interface

The UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI) promotes dialogue between scientists and policy makers on desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD). The mandate  of the SPI is to provide the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) thematic guidance on knowledge requirements for implementing the UNCCD.

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  • Joris de Vente

    Senior researcher

    I am senior researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CEBAS-CSIC), where I perform interdisciplinary research on environmental change and Sustainable Land Management (SLM) from local to regional scales. I work on applied research in the context of climate change (adaptation and mitigation) and land degradation (prevention and restoration) in close collaboration with stakeholders. I study SLM to increase water security and ecosystems resilience to land degradation and climate change and other ecosystem services. I combine (participatory) field monitoring, modelling, and socio-ecological systems analysis to identify barriers and motivators for implementation of SLM, building on collaboration between public, private and business initiatives. I am closely involved in the initiation, monitoring and assessment of several large-scale land restoration initiatives, including regenerative agriculture, reforestations, and ecological restoration of a coastal lagoon. I was member of the Science-Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) (2014 to 2017), and coordinating lead author of a SPI-UNCCD report on SLM for climate change adaptation and mitigation. I am currently associate editor for Land Degradation & Development and editorial board member for 'Water'.
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