Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson hosted today a meeting of 23 states that are a part of the group of friends on desertification, land degradation and drought, founded last year by Iceland and Namibia at the United Nations.
“It is crucial that we give increased attention to land restoration in the international fora to avoid problems such as food shortages, mass migration and conflict caused by desertification, land degradation and drought. This is why Iceland places great emphasis on desertification, land degradation and drought be addressed in the goals in the new development framework” said Minister Sveinsson at the meeting this morning.
“These issues are not least interesting as they bring together different nations, with different experiences and state of play domestically. Iceland has been dealing with land degradation for hundreds of years and has therefore an opportunity to share its experiences”.
The Foreign Minister also discussed desertification, land degradation and drought at the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the new development framework. He spoke about Iceland´s experience of land degradation and how we have worked to reclaim land with land restoration. It is undoubtedly a powerful weapon in the fight against famine, better nutrition for people around the world and supports the sustainable land management. Without the sustainable land management it will not be possible to feed 9 billion people in the year 2050, fight poverty and global warming, while conserving biodiversity.
A part of the high level meeting addressed the importance of partnerships in addressing various challenges against humanity. The Foreign Minister mention the good experience of the partnership between Iceland the United Nations University operating the four UNU programs that are based in Iceland, in the field of geothermal energy, land restoration, fisheries and gender equality.
During the high level meeting the Minister also had bilateral meetings on geothermal issues with high-level officials from Germany and New Zealand.