Open working group on Sustainable Development Goals - Statement of Iceland

Mr. Co-Chair,

I am honored to make this statement on behalf of Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Kyrgistan, Mongolia, Namibia, Qatar, Republic of Korea and my own country Iceland who are all members of the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) which was co-founded by Namibia and Iceland as an informal interest group and forum that aims at maintaining the momentum generated by Rio+20 around DLDD issues.

The group is composed of several countries, developed and developing alike, that carries out sustained advocacy to ensure that DLDD issues are given the priority they deserve for they constitute an existential threat to the wellbeing of over close to two billion people. DLDD issues corrode the pillars of sustainable development.

We based our decision to create the Group convinced that if the international community does not take bold action to protect, restore and manage land and soils sustainably, it will not achieve commitments on climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation, forests and reach MDG targets. It will not alleviate poverty and hunger, ensure long‐term food security nor build resilience to drought and water stress.

Mr. Co-Chair,

We follow closely the deliberations of the Open Working Group but note with concern that DLDD issues are not yet adequately captured in the Co-Chairs Focus document. We recall that at Rio+20, the international community had resolved to strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world while committing to monitor land degradation globally. In spite of this, there is no dedicated focus area on DLDD, and cluster 3 of the clusters page has omitted to mention DLDD.

At this juncture Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Kyrgistan, Mongolia, Namibia, Qatar, Republic of Korea and my own country Iceland would like to suggest four important targets as far as SDGS are concerned:

Target 1:         Land Degradation-neutral world by 2030: To achieve this, we should manage our lands sustainably and regenerate those already degraded to make them fertile again;

Target 2:         All countries have in place sustainable land management policies built on ecosystem approach by 2020: many countries have those policies in place; the target is to scale them up worldwide;

Target 3:         All drought prone countries develop and implement drought preparedness policies by 2020; That target will contribute to operate a paradigm shift from crisis management of drought to resilience building and preparedness;

Target 4:         All countries to have in place before 2020 capacity building to   restore or rehabilitate degraded land and reverse land degradation:


It is our hope that those targets, consistent with paragraphs 205 to 209 of the Future We Want, will be positively considered by this Open Working Group.

Furthermore the targets above are all universal and integrate all three dimensions of sustainable development.

Thank you, Mr. Co-Chair,


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