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Soil Leadership gains capacity

Michael Mack, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta, Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of  UNCCD and James Griffiths, Managing Director of Natural Capital WBCSD. (Photograph by Hilmah Hashange)

Michael Mack, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta, Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of UNCCD and James Griffiths, Managing Director of Natural Capital WBCSD. (Photograph by Hilmah Hashange)

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) launched a Soil Leadership Academy at one of the sessions of last week’s eleventh Convention of the Parties in Windhoek, with support from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and leading WBCSD member, Syngenta.
The main goal of this joint initiative is to fill the gap in capacity building opportunities for policy makers to address land management issues. It is envisaged that this will be accomplished through distilling and sharing of the latest science, knowledge and expertise in soil conservation and sustainable farming.
The Soil Leadership Academy supports the 10-year UNCCD strategy to fight desertification and land degradation by accelerating land restoration worldwide. Through the Academy, a network between research institutes, universities and key decision makers will be created. The Academy will offer information and training opportunities to eligible policy makers and land-users worldwide. The ambitious project will become operational in early 2014 and will demand close cooperation between the partners, drawing on their comparative strengths.
“Fertile soil is the foundation of sustainable agriculture. But every year we lose an area of land with the potential to produce 20 million tons of grain. Syngenta has made a global commitment to improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland by 2020. Creating the Soil Leadership Academy with the UNCCD will help us meet this commitment and bring us closer to addressing the soil conservation challenge globally.” said Michael Mack, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta.
Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD noted that the Academy will serve as a source of state-of-the-art information related to soil conservation and land management. “It should help bridge the gap between science and policy and to build the capacity of those who manage the land to access knowledge,” Gnacadja stated.
According to James Griffiths, Managing Director, Natural Capital, WBCSD, the launch is proof that World Business Council member companies are committing to action.  “Achieving a land degradation neutral world is at the heart of a sustainable future. Soil is at the heart of sustainable food, feed and fiber production. “ said Griffiths.

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