Friday, June 1, 2012

Semi-Finalists Announced for first Land for Life Award

Semi-Finalists Announced for first Land for Life Award

24/05/2012 Bonn, Germany - From turning human waste into organic fertilizer
to scientific breakthroughs reversing desertification, the 15
semi-finalists of the Land for Life award find innovative and inspiring
ways to restore degraded land.

Launched by the UNCCD for the first time in 2011, the Land for Life Award
will recognize efforts that promote the natural health and productivity of
the earth’s soils.

Three winners will share a prize fund of up to 100,000 USD. They will be
announced on 17 June, the World Day to Combat Desertification in Rio de
Janeiro as part of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development, known as Rio+ 20.

More than one hundred applications were received from 52 countries. The
competition was open to individuals, NGOs, governments, business, media and
others that could demonstrate contributions to sustainable land management.

The winners will be selected by a Jury of ten experts from the field of
sustainable land management. The jury includes personalities like Dr.
Vandana Shiva, a renowned seed sovereignty activist from India, Ms. Yolanda
Kakabadse, President of WWF International and Dr. Camilla Toulmin,
Director, International Institute for Sustainable Development as well as
other respected experts from government, the UNCCD, civil society and

The fifteen semi-finalists are:

Alan Savory, Zimbabwe
A lifelong champion of sustainable land management, Alan Savory has
pioneered the concept of holistic land management, promoting sustainable
grazing particularly in the grasslands of Africa.

Chifeng Muncipal Government, China
In the arid lands of Inner Mongolia, the government of Chifeng faces a
serious fight of desertification, which threatens nearly 30 percent of the
total region. Through scientific policy planning and mass mobilization,
Chifeng has rehabilitated three-quarters of a million hectares of degraded
land, and on average each hectare of shelterbelt forest prevents 10 tons of
soil loss each year.

Community Efforts for Community Development (CECOD), Uganda
More than 85 percent of Ugandans live in rural areas, making their
livelihoods from the land. But over the years the school system has become
increasingly academic. Concerned with increasing knowledge of sustainable
development, CECOD has turned children into agents of change in rural
communities through creating a network of eco-schools, training of over
7,500 teachers and involving 34,700 children in micro projects, such as
organic farming and water harvesting.

DeCo! Ghana
Farmers in the savanna region of Ghana have low yields as result of poor
soils. DeCo! provides low cost organic fertilizer through a sustainable
business model, collecting local waste, fruit, vegetable and other biomass
residues to produce rich compost.

DESIRE-WOCAT, The Netherlands
A research network connecting people from local to global levels worldwide,
the DESIRE-WOCAT project has expanded the knowledge available about land
degradation and desertification by collecting case studies, establishing
indicators, and conducting trainings.

Dr. Liliya Dimeyeva, Kazakhstan
Working across borders and cultures, Dr. Dimeyeva has dedicated her
scientific research to creating green sea beds in the dry Aral Sea, an
important scientific breakthrough in an area facing severe land

Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), Nigeria
Faced with advancing sand dunes in Northern Nigeria, FADE has planted a
wall of trees and conducted creative awareness raising about combating
desertification in Nigeria, including a reality TV show called Desert

Grupo Ambiental para el Desarrollo (GADE), Argentina
In Colonia El Simbolar in Northern Argentina, farmers struggled to make
ends meet, and large amounts of land were abandoned. GADE has led the
community to plant resilient native trees, Algarrobo Blanco, which can be
used for wood, flour and honey. The reforestation of nearly 7,000 hectares
has increased incomes of struggling farmers, and mobilized the community,
especially youth, to protect the environment.

The Great Green Wall, Korea & China
Set on the border between Korea and China, the Great Green Wall runs 16
hectares, and is surrounded by the Save the Earth Eco-Village. A
collaboration between students, governments, NGOs and businesses led by
Future Forest, the wall has succeeded in halting desertification and
preventing the encroachment of sand dunes.

Dr. Goaming Jiang, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Where many efforts to reverse desertification in northern China have
failed, Professor Jiang has proven that by ending the grazing of large
livestock and providing the community with alternative livelihoods, land
can be naturally restored.

Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), Haiti
Working in some of the poorest areas of Haiti, SOIL has developed an
integrated approach to the issues of inadequate sanitation, declining soil
fertility and extensive erosion. Through community driven ecological
sanitation, SOIL helps restore soils and improve agricultural yields, at
the same time improving the dignity and health of people without

Mr. Tie Shunliang, the Director of Forestry and Environment Protection
Bureau, China
Dedicating his career to afforestation and combatting desertification in
the tough conditions of western China, the efforts of Mr. Shunliang have
led to the restoration of nearly 25,000 hectares of degraded land. He also
pioneered wolfberry cultivation, with benefits to the environment and
additional incomes for 30,000 people, most of whom are women.

Terraprima, Portugal
Through technological innovation including an innovative use of legumes,
Terra Prima reduces costs for farmers for fertilization, land maintenance
and animal feeding.  The project potentially improves the soil health of 1
million hectares of land, at the same time offering opportunities for
large-scale soil carbon sequestration.

Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA), Turkey
The largest environmental NGO in Turkey, TEMA has mobilized people across
civil society, from children to farmers, gathering one million signatures
supporting a law for soil protection, as well as providing practical
leadership in the field for holistic land management.

Wand Foundation, Philippines
Many poor farmers in the Philippines lose their land in local mortgage
schemes known as prenda. The Wand Foundation helps farmers reclaim their
land, and increase soil fertility through providing fertilizer produced by
ecological sanitation.


For more information, please visit:

About the Land for Life Award
The 2012 Land for Life award is a collaboration between the UNCCD and the
Korea Forest Service, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and
Development (BMZ), the Global Environment Facility, International Union for
Conservation of Nature, the Qatar National Food Security Programme, the
Business Forum in Korea and the Elion Resources Group, China.

About the UNCCD
Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity,
were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development
during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole
legally binding international agreement linking environment, development
and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 195 signatory Parties
work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s
productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.


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