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Land degradation is a global problem, affecting about a quarter of the world’s land area (FAO, 2013) and impacts one out of three people (UNCCD, 2013). Degradation of land resources is a growing problem in the Eurasian region and is increasingly manifested in desertification, soil erosion, salinization and waterlogging. Given that the poor heavily depend on natural resources, land degradation compromises their welfare and poses a daunting challenge to national and global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The importance of addressing land degradation is increasingly recognized as a priority among policymakers, scientists, researchers and the international development community.
The current increased awareness provides an opportunity for mobilizing investments in sustainable land management (SLM), an approach which integrates economic, environmental and social considerations and encourages strong stakeholder engagement in planning and implementing sustainable solutions. Investments in SLM require careful economic assessment of land degradation, its drivers and the returns to investments for rehabilitating land or preventing land degradation, thus helping decision-makers design efficient instruments or policies.
Organized by ECFS and the World Bank, the objective of this e-consultation is to generate a discussion on the key socio-economic drivers and impacts of land degradation in the Eurasian region (Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus), identify available tools to guide sustainable land use decisions, and examine the role of policies and institutions in promoting sustainable land systems. The outcome of this discussion will inform the current and future work program of the ECFS, and will also contribute to the activities of the Eurasian Soil Partnership.