Land Degradation Neutrality

“Land degradation neutrality” means the maintenance and increase of the amount of healthy and productive land resources, in line with national development priorities.

SDG indicator 15.3.1

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 promotes “Life on Land” and 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.’


With the new WOCAT 2020+ strategy, WOCAT aims to be a leading and collaborative platform of expertise and a major transformative force in supporting countries and institutions around the world to scale up SLM and achieve LDN. With the new UNCCD-WOCAT partnership agreement, which was signed in February 2020, and the role and representation in various projects and initiatives, WOCAT and its partners have a say, but also a responsibility in the global LDN discourse.

SDG indicator 15.3.1
UNDP and WOCAT sign MoU for the Sustainable Land Management Progress Calculator

UNDP and WOCAT want to establish a working relationship towards the further development, testing and implementation of tools and applications related to measuring progress of development projects to address land degradation, conserve biodiversity, and implement sustainable land management practices. This will contribute specifically towards both parties contribution towards Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG 15) Life on Land.

 The relationship to cooperate and work together originate from a presentation of the GEF 5 SLM Project, managed by UNDP South Africa, on the Sustainable Land Management Progress Calculator (SLM PC), a tool developed by the GEF 5 SLM Project  to WOCAT International. Interest has been indicated to add the SLM PC towards the set of tools already developed by WOCAT International to assess land degradation and sustainability, and to describe soil and water management techniques and approaches.

» Read more about SLM PC
Launch of Dryland Sustainable Landscapes Impact Program

The GEF-7 Drylands Sustainable Landscapes Impact Program (DSL IP) was launched during the Global Landscapes Forum, on 2–3 June 2021. The DSL IP aims at transforming the management of drylands in 11 countries across three geographical clusters; 1) the Miombo and Mopane ecosystems of Southern Africa, 2) the savanna and grasslands in East and West Africa and, 3) the temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands of Central Asia.. It will also support countries in the implementation of their Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Strategies under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

WOCAT will play a role supporting global, regional and national DSL Knowledge Management activities with focus on durable impact through:

  • harmonization and standardization of tools and methods
  • open and easy access and use of data and knowledge
  • co-development and co-production of knowledge
  • equality, trust and ownership in KM processes

From WOCAT we will also work on the Establishment of Communities of Practice to exchange knowledge and experience on Good SLM practices and LDN and regional/ national priority topics among countries experts and implementers.

» Read more about GEF7
LUP4LDN Tool wins the GEO-LDN Competition

After a long journey LUP4LDN tool from SCiO, ICARDA, WOCAT, Università degli Studi di Sassari and ELD wins the GEO-LDN Competition and  will receive financial and technical support to transform their prototype into an operational and scalable tool.

» Learn more about LUP4LDN
Integration between QM and satellite derived LDN indicators: Ecuador as a pilot country

To achieve Land Degradation Neutrality and monitor land degradation processes, it is key to integrate different sources and types of data at different spatial scales. Participatory expert assessments provide valuable information that cannot be obtained by satellite derived indicators, and vice versa. However, it is still not clear how to integrate expert knowledge and additional national and sub-national indicators into the LDN monitoring process.

To achieve this, we are developing with the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador and FAO a web based geospatial tool that will allow users visualize and compare maps, obtain summary statistics of the different types of indicators, and learn about the main recommendations provided by experts for different landscapes in Ecuador.

We are currently working with the results provided by the GEF funded DS SLM project, in which Ecuador carried out a National Level assessment in 2017 using the WOCAT-FAO QM methodology. Different Land use Systems and administrative borders were considered to delimitate a total of 647 landscape units covering the whole country, which were evaluated with the QM by different stakeholders. This offers a great opportunity to integrate expert knowledge with the 3 change of state LDN indicators and other national sources of information.

» Read more about the DS-SLM results from Ecuador
Tools4LDN: designing the field work campaign and new datasets coming soon on Trends.Earth

As part of the Tools4LDN project, we are working on designing the field work campaign in target regions of Colombia to pilot test integration of LandPKS mobile platform with Trends.Earth for verifying biophysical degradation indicators and collection of land management information. To achieve this we are organizing a virtual workshop with national experts and stakeholders to share experiences, current knowledge, tools and data. From WOCAT we are committed to coordinating and supporting the country for successful and meaningful Tools4LDN results.

We are also happy to share that in Trends.Earth there will be new datasets available, such as 10 m resolution maps of NDVI, which can now be visualized on LandPKS. Also, progress has been made on including a WOCAT SLM data base data in LandPKS. We hope soon you will be able to query LandPKS, and according to the field characteristics you enter the system, a list of suggested SLMs will appear. We have also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using Landsat and Sentinel data to analyse long term NDVI trends and obtaining land productivity dynamics maps, one of LDN indicators. The higher spatial resolution data, such as the one provided by these satellites provides very valuable information to make decisions, especially at field scale. Unfortunately there is a trade-off between spatial and temporal resolution, so for the analysis of long term changes, we still rely of temporal series of MODIS NDVI.

» Read more about the project
WOCAT-LDN Task Force

To set the ground for efforts on LDN knowledge capitalization and dissemination the WOCAT-LDN Task Force was established in January 2021. The Task Force ensures a regular exchange between WOCAT partners who are working on LDN related projects, databases, tools and applications.

» Read more about the WOCAT-LDN Task Force

UNCCD and WOCAT partnership

In 2020 WOCAT renewed its partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to jointly boost the uptake of SLM around the world through strengthened global partnership

» read more about the partnership