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Volkan Bozkir (General Assembly President) participates at the High-level Forum on Desertification and Drought Day
16 Jun 2021 -  H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of 75th session of the General Assembly participates at the High-level Forum on Desertification and Drought Day

Ladies and Gentlemen,
    I am delighted to participate by video message in today’s High-level Forum on Desertification and Drought Day, and thank President Alvarado and the Government of Costa Rica for organising this event.

    This is an issue, that requires the international community’s urgent and focused attention. We are facing an environmental crisis, that encompasses every aspect of the natural world. Our ability to flourish, depends on how we rebuild our relationship with nature, including the health of our land.

   The crises of land, climate, biodiversity and pollution, are inextricably linked. Soil is home, to more than 25 percent of the planet’s biological biodiversity. I would like to thank President Alvaro, for launching the Alliance for Land Stewardship, at the UN General Assembly High-level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought last week. Upscaling global initiatives on land stewardship, is crucial to reverse biodiversity loss, and manage climate change, as healthy land, is the world’s greatest carbon sink.

  But today, half of all agricultural land is unable to sustain, any form of life, which already threatens the livelihoods and security of over 3 billion people. By 2050, global crop yields, are estimated to fall by 10%, with some suffering up to a 50% reduction.

I convened the High-level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought, with the support of UNCCD, to galvanize international cooperation, to avert further degradation, and to revive degraded land. The wide-ranging participation of Member States, signalled broad commitment to this issue. Raising ambition for use of land restoration, as an entry point in COVID-19 recovery strategies, was highlighted. Job creation, ecosystem restoration and sustainable forest management, will all benefit.

I call on world leaders, to invest in land restoration, as part of post-pandemic recovery strategies, and to partner with stakeholders at all levels. I commend today’s strong push, to raise ambition on land action. This will not only create jobs today, it will help build resilience for future crises.

   Ahead of the three COP-level summits on land, biodiversity and climate, we must raise our global ambition, and take actions to restore land health. The pandemic has caused untold levels of suffering. It has also presented an opportunity, to invest in our future, to reset our relationship with nature, and to protect our planet and ourselves, from systemic health and environmental risks.

I thank you.  
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