The LDN Target Setting Programme

Supporting countries to set Land Degradation Neutrality targets

“Today is a new day for the land”

Antonis Samaras

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 Secretariat and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD are supporting interested countries in the national Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target setting process, including the definition of national baselines, targets and associated measures to achieve LDN by 2030 through the LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP).

Currently, more than 100 countries are participating in the LDN TSP. This global programme is implemented in cooperation with numerous partners, including  the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Space Agency, International Soil Reference and Information Centre, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, World Resources Institute (WRI), Soil Leadership Academy (SLA), and the Government of the Republic of Turkey (though the Ankara Initiative), Germany, France, Luxembourg, Spain, 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 further strengthen the implementation of the countries’ UNCCD National Action Programmes.

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

  • Receive technical guidance on how to effectively assess and define national baselines related to the LDN indicator framework as defined by the UNCCD and addressed in the context of the , and  to establish national targets and associated measures to achieve LDN by 2030
  • Have access to cutting-edge technical expertise on demand via a LDN target setting help desk
  • Have the opportunity to participate in international capacity building and knowledge exchange events.

Affected country Parties are also receiving 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 and identifying leverage opportunities
  • Assistance in identifying LDN investment opportunities, in order to link LDN target setting with LDN implementation, including the mapping of transformative LDN projects


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 became 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.