Achieving Green Economy through Investment in Productive Land

One of our most valuable assets is productive land.

Land is needed to produce essential goods and services such as food, water, wood, fibre, fuel and minerals. When managed responsibly, land also regulates the good functioning of vital ecosystem services such as photosynthesis, pollination, nutrient cycling, water purification, soil formation, climate stabilisation, flood prevention. Furthermore, land is the natural habitat of many species and a unique source of inspiration, relaxation, and relief.

We at the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) promote responsible investments across all land use sectors, as a way to halt land degradation and preserve the integrity of our natural capital for generations to come. With sustainable land management techniques, we can increase land-use productivity, rehabilitate and restore degraded land, and achieve food, water and energy security while safeguarding the continued provision of ecosystem services. It’s a triple-win solution for the economy, the society and the environment.

Which makes of land the smartest possible investment, as it generates far greater returns, natural capital gains and social wellbeing than any other asset class. Investing responsibly in land will enable the transition to a genuine green economy, which will guarantee a sustainable future for the people and the planet.

Indeed, the green economy is considered by the international community as a long-lasting solution to the multiple global challenges of our times. More than 100 heads of state and government at the Rio +20 summit in 2012 expressed their determination to pursue it in all its integral components.

In a green economy, the use of renewable energy resources is maximized, energy efficiency technologies are introduced in all economic sectors, waste is reduced, climate and other ecological limits are not exceeded, natural capital is preserved or used sustainably, negative externalities from economic growth are curtailed, employment and social wellbeing is increased through the creation of green jobs.

To reorient and restructure the present economic system along these lines, beyond political will and enabling conditions, huge public and private investments are required at all levels. The whole financial system, in fact, will have to change. Forward-looking business leaders, investors and financial intermediaries have already embraced the change and are championing the transition to the green economy.

The green growth agenda directly contributes to the achievement of the sustainable development objectives of the UNCCD. The Global Mechanism actively supports this process through several partnerships and networks that cultivate People, Planet, Profit Leaders (3PL), Offer Sustainable Land-use Options (OSLO), organize capacity building initiatives, and facilitate public-private dialogues on natural wealth management opportunities offered by the green economy.


Simone Quatrini,
Coordinator, Policy and Investment Analysis,
The Global Mechanism, UNCCD.