The LDN Target Setting Programme

Today is a new day for the land

Antonis Samaras

Supporting countries to set Land Degradation Neutrality targets

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 states: “By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world”.

Target 15.3 has therefore become a strong vehicle for driving UNCCD implementation, while at the same time contributing to other SDGs, including those relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration, food and water security, disaster risk reduction, and poverty.

At the 12th session of the Conference of Parties of the UNCCD held in October 2015 in Ankara, Turkey, country Parties reached a breakthrough agreement to endorse this vision and link the implementation of the Convention to the SDGs in general, and target 15.3 in particular.

The Global Mechanism, in close collaboration with the UNCCD Secretariat, will support interested countries in the national Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target setting process, including the definition of national baselines, measures and targets to achieve LDN by 2030.

We have therefore developed a global programme to support countries in setting national LDN voluntary targets. The programme builds on the successful experience of the LDN pilot project that ran between May 2014 and October 2015 with 14 LDN champion countries. This global programme is possible thanks to the commitment of partners such as the Global Environment Facility, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Government of the Republic of Turkey (though the Ankara Initiative), Trinidad and Tobago, and the Republic of Korea (through the Changwon Initiative).

Country Engagement in the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme

To address the multiple Sustainable Development Goals in a synergistic and cost effective manner, countries can now formulate voluntary targets to achieve LDN, according to their specific national context and development priorities.

These targets will also support the implementation of the countries’ National Action Programmes.

Under the LDN Target Setting Programme, all participating country Parties will:

  • Receive technical guidance on how to effectively assess and define national baselines related to the indicator frameworks of target 15.3 of the SDGs and the UNCCD, and how to establish relevant measures and targets to achieve LDN by 2030
  • Have access to cutting-edge technical expertise on demand via an online LDN target setting help desk
  • Have the opportunity to participate in international capacity building and knowledge exchange events.

Affected country Parties will also receive direct technical and financial support for their national LDN target setting processes, including:

  • Specialized expertise
  • Access to the best available data
  • Support for conducting a multi-stakeholder consultation process, mainstreaming LDN into national SDG agendas
  • Assistance in identifying LDN investment opportunities, in order to link LDN target setting with LDN implementation.

How to engage in the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme

Given the key cross-sectoral influence of the land sector, the process of setting national LDN targets must be anchored in the national portfolio for implementing the SDGs. It must also leverage both on the national processes for the implementation of the other Rio Conventions (the Convention on Biodiversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), and on the interventions of multiple development partners at the country level.

The LDN Target Setting Programme will become fully operational during the first quarter of 2016.

In order to participate on a voluntary basis in this programme, your UNCCD National Focal Point Institution should submit a letter of interest to You can also contact us on this e-mail address for more information.


The UNCCD Secretariat and the Global Mechanism, in collaboration with a dozen bilateral and multilateral partners are supporting countries on the LDN target setting journey. The building blocks of this journey presented here are the result of extensive discussions with country Parties and stakeholde…Read more
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UNCCD Publications
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Land in Balance is a science-policy brief prepared by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI). It gives an overview of the scientific conceptual framework for land degradation neutrality (LDN). The conceptual framework creates a common understanding of the LDN objective and consistency in approache…Read more
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UNCCD Publications
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