Constituting benchmarks to which countries and the international community can be held accountable for politically, targets aim to eventually spur action.

Secondly, LDN is a concept, defined as “a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions […] remain stable or increase”. Thus, LDN is achieved if there is no net loss (or a gain) of land resources compared to a baseline (e.g. 2015). Such a balance can be achieved through avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation. The LDN response hierarchy (see Figure) underlines the need to prioritise the avoidance of land degradation while making use of the large areas of degraded land that holds potential for restoration.

Thirdly, LDN is a monitoring approach that allows for tracking progress on the implementation of LDN targets (see Box at the end of the article).

Translating a global goal into national ambitions: LDN target setting

Based on these considerations, the UNCCD has started a LDN target-setting programme that aims to bring the global goal of LDN down to the country level.