The Global Land Outlook (GLO)

The Global Land Outlook (GLO)

11 September 2017

The first edition of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) Global Land Outlook (GLO) was launched on 11 September 2017 at the UNCCD thirteen session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) in Ordos, China.

The GLO is a strategic communications platform and publication that demonstrates the central importance of land quality to human well-being, assesses current trends in land conversion, degradation and loss, identifies the driving factors and analyzes the impacts, provides scenarios for future challenges and opportunities, and presents a new and transformative vision for land management policy, planning and practice at global and national scales.

Bringing together a diverse group of international experts and partners, the GLO addresses the future challenges and opportunities for the management and restoration of land resources in the context of sustainable development, including:

  • Food, water and energy security;
  • Climate change and biodiversity conservation;
  • Urban, peri-urban and infrastructure development;
  • Land tenure, governance and gender; and
  • Migration, conflict and human security.

The current pressures on land are huge and expected to continue growing: there is rapidly escalating competition between the demand for land functions that provide food, water, and energy, and those services that support and regulate all life cycles on Earth.

 The evidence presented in this first edition of the Global Land Outlook demonstrates that informed and responsible decision-making, along with simple changes in our everyday lives, can if widely adopted help to reverse the current worrying trends in the state of our land resources. 

The focus of the Chapter 8 is water security.  Water security is being undermined, in particular by the combination of unsuitable agricultural models, rapid demographic changes, and the destabilizing effects of climate change. Poor choices from the individual to the national level exacerbate the situation. Countries and communities are suffering from both shortages and excesses. The loss of wetlands, declines in water quality, and dramatic changes to the flow regimes of major hydrological systems are leading to a collapse in freshwater biodiversity and essential ecosystem services. Improving water security requires an integrated, cross-sectoral approach which capitalizes on the links between the land management practices and the health of hydrological systems. In sum, some of the most critical steps include: more efficient water use in agriculture, industry, energy, and households; regulation and legislation, including pricing and allocation, to encourage efficiency; and increased protection and restoration to improve overall ecosystem functioning in the watershed. The technical know-how to help solve the water crisis is largely known; the next step is to apply these lessons learned at the scale required.