Mainstreaming sustainable land management at international level

Project description

Title: Sector Project on Soil Protection, Combating Desertification, Sustainable Land Management
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: International country activities in Kenya, India, Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Central Asia, Somalia, Tunisia, Mexico
Overall term: 2020 to 2023


Be it in Kyrgyzstan, Benin or Germany, local farmers all have one thing in common: they are losing land. Soil degradation causes the soil to lose its fertility and productivity. A quarter of the Earth’s land surface is already degraded as a result of agricultural overexploitation, clearing, pollution and sealing.

In the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), soil degradation and desertification are anchored in SDG 15. This addresses life on land, and therefore the protection, restoration and promotion of long-term use of land ecosystems. A global increase in awareness of the role of sustainable land management for food security, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change is making the issue of soil conservation politically relevant.


German development cooperation assists in mainstreaming sustainable land management in national and international political processes.


The project supports the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in its role as a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and advises it on sustainable land management, soil conservation and climate impacts. 

The priority area team for ‘advisory services and support to BMZ’ strengthens BMZ’s performance in the area of sustainable land management in national and international political processes. The project operates in three fields of action: 

  • Policy advice and PR work: BMZ receives practical experience and the necessary knowledge on the topics of soil conservation, desertification and sustainable land management.
  • Advisory services to the UNCCD Focal Point: BMZ is supported in its role as a UNCCD Focal Point. To this end, the project advises BMZ on all political strategy, technical, institutional and financial questions.
  • Participation in international debate: The project makes use of strategic topics in the context of land use to highlight the relevance of soil conservation and land use management on the international stage.

The ‘from knowledge to action: scaling sustainable land management and improving the general conditions through knowledge platforms and networks’ priority area is addressed in three fields of activity:

  • Use of evidence-based data and experiences to scale up land use management and improve the general conditions: Data and information is to be linked, processed and made accessible so that it can be used for the application of land use management and the design of conducive framework conditions.
  • Policy advice and international processes: The project would like to condense experiences into a coherent concept and incorporate them into policy advice and international processes.
  • Management of the ELD Secretariat: The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative strengthens global awareness of the economic significance of sustainable land management. The project secures the functionality of the ELD secretariat by coordinating research activities and policy dialogue, promoting the development of knowledge and capacities and safeguarding the internal and external communications of the Initiative.

The ‘climate protection through soil conservation’ priority area prepares and disseminates experiences made by introducing soil conservation measures for climate protection in India and Kenya. There are measures in two areas: 

  • Fortification of soil carbon: The project supports partners with trialing and promoting approaches to the use and market development of biochar or other organic carbon carriers for replication and up-scaling.
  • Certification of the climate impact of soil conservation: Climate certifications of soil conservation measures in the context of the voluntary carbon markets are to be tested, strengthened and disseminated for replication and up-scaling.

Latest update: October 2020