Land for Life Award Finalists Showcase Sustainable Land Management Solutions

Sixteen semi-finalists have been selected for this year’s Land for Life Award, which is coordinated by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to recognise leading examples of efforts that promote the natural health and productivity of the earth’s soils. The semi-finalists are from 13 countries – Australia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Portugal, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe – and represent some of the most cutting-edge and practical solutions in global sustainable land management.

Sustainable Land Management_Wildlifeworks

Wildlifeworks, Kenya. Copyright: Lisa Christine.


The semi-finalists were selected from 137 applications submitted from 62 countries, with the award being open to individuals, NGOs, governments, business, media and others contributing to sustainable land management.

From planting a great green wall in Indonesia, to building sand dams in Kenya, to growing food in the shade of solar panels in India, these semi-finalists offer innovative and inspiring lessons on how to restore and conserve land.

“As with last year, this year’s semi-finalists show that land degradation and drought are not fates. Innovative and inspiring solutions exist that we can scale-up and scale out,” Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD responded when the short-list was presented to him. “Recognizing efforts like these on sustainable land management is particularly timely because the global community is looking to create sustainable development goals that can be measured and achieved to curb land and soil degradation,” he added.

Land degradation is often an underlying factor of rural poverty, which severely impacts the ability of subsistence farmers to grow food and access freshwater.  An estimated 70 per cent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas, according to a 2011 report by International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Land for Life Award BiovisionThe African semi-finalists include DeCo! Ghana which supplies farmers with organic fertilizer which is collected from local waste, fruit, vegetable and other biomass residues to produce rich compost that is a low-cost alternative to less sustainable government subsidized chemical fertilizers; Rehabilitation of Arid Environments Trust (RAE) in Kenya which works with communities in implementing a variety of land rehabilitation techniques based on harvesting rainfall as well as other programs supporting rural livelihoods; and The Savory Institute in Zimbabwe which promotes sustainable grazing particularly in the grasslands of Africa and is creating a global network of 100 locally-led hubs to provide training, consulting and implementation support for land managers.

DeCo GhanaThe three winners chosen from among them will share a prize fund of up to 100,000 USD. Winners will be announced on 17 June, at the global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification to be held at the Conference on Desertification and Land Degradation in Ghent, Belgium. 

Winners are selected by an independent jury of experts from the field of sustainable land management, with personalities like Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF, Dr. Vandana Shiva, a renowned environmental activist from India, Dr. Dennis Garrity, former executive director of World Agroforestry Center and Dr. Mary Seely from the Desert Research Foundation in Namibia, among other respected experts from government, the UNCCD and civil society.

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