In China, international prize honors laws and practices successfully combating desertification and land degradation

gold award
UNCCD News

11 September 2017Hamburg, Germany/Ordos, China – The Future Policy Award (FPA) ceremony was held at the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD in Ordos, Inner Mongolia (China). The international “Oscar for best policies” honours laws and practices that successfully combat desertification and land degradation. The FPA is awarded by the World Future Council (WFC) in cooperation with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Among the laureates are the Ethiopian Tigray region, Brazil and China.

The ceremony was attended by 300 high-level guests and ministers from all over the world including H.E. Mr. Zhang Jianlong, Minister of State Forestry Administration of China, H.E. Ms. Bu Xiaolin, Governor of Inner Mongolia, as well as Tigray’s President H.E. Mr. Abay Weldu.

The FPA aims to draw more attention to desertification and effective ways to combat it: In the last century, droughts cost more lives than any other weather-related catastrophe. Climate change intensifies the process of desertification. Actions to combat desertification, therefore, not only contribute to protecting the environment but can also provide social and political stability.

Ethiopia’s Tigray region was granted the Gold Award. Using a unique combination of collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of youth, the people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale. As a result, erosion has decreased significantly, groundwater levels are recharged, and the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices made a remarkable contribution to food self-sufficiency and economic growth.

The Future Policy Award highlights the world’s best policies and laws that create the framework for better living conditions for current and future generations.

The winning policies are introduced in short videos which are on our YouTube Channel. Further information on the winning policies may be obtained through our website as well as on futurepolicy.org.

STATEMENTS:
Monique Barbut, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD): “Drylands cover close to 40% of the Earth’s land surface. Hundreds of millions of people are directly threatened by land degradation and climate change is only going to intensify the problem. So far, this underestimated environmental disaster has received far too little attention. The Future Policy Award 2017 is turning the spotlight on the looming environmental challenge and effective responses. The seven Future Policy Awardees are all from affected countries, and demonstrate great environmental and political determination.”

Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council (WFC): “Drylands are among the most conflict-prone regions in the world. Not tackling desertification and land degradation means accepting humanitarian disasters. But if we take up this challenge, so much is gained: By reversing desertification we can help build peace, food security and a safe future for millions of people.”

H.E. Abay Weldu, President of Tigray State (Ethiopia) “I am delighted and honoured as head of the Regional Government of Tigray knowing that Tigray has won Gold Future Policy Award 2017. The people of Tigray demonstrate that all challenges can be overcome if the leadership is addressing the will, need and priority of the people. Tigray’s people have proved that development is possible without harming our mother Earth.”

BACKGROUND
The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies rather than people on an international level. Each year, the World Future Council chooses a topic for the Future Policy Award on which policy progress is particularly urgent. In 2017, in partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), laws and policies were evaluated that contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods in the drylands, and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 15, target 3, to “combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.”
More information: 
Read more about the winning policies and the award in our brochure 
Follow the 2017 Future Policy Award on Twitter with #FPA2017 
For more information about the Future Policy Award, see here

MEDIA CONTACTS: 
Miriam Petersen 
Media & Communications Manager, World Future Council 
Tel: +49  40 307 09 14 19 (L),  +49 1573 68 38 736 (M) │ E: miriam.petersen@worldfuturecouncil.org 
Wagaki Wischnewski 
Public Information and Media Officer, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 
Tel: +49 228 815 2820 │ E: wwischnewski@unccd.int 
The World Future Council 
The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its up to 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. In close cooperation with civil society actors, parliamentarians, governments, business and international organizations the World Future Council identifies “best policies” around the globe. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany. 
www.worldfuturecouncil.org 
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the only legally binding international agreement on land issues. The Convention promotes good land stewardship. Its 196 Parties aim, through partnerships, to implement the Convention and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The end goal is to protect our land, from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide us all with food, water and energy. By sustainably managing land and striving to achieve land degradation neutrality, now and in the future, we will reduce the impact of climate change, avoid conflict over natural resources and help communities to thrive. 
www.unccd.int