Commonwealth adopts ‘Living Lands Charter’

Contact Counsellor

Commonwealth adopts ‘Living Lands Charter’

  • All 54 Commonwealth members have agreed to voluntarily dedicate a ‘living land’ in their respective countries to future generations, in line with the strategy set for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Living Lands Charter

  • The non-binding mandates that member countries will safeguard global land resources and arrest land degradation while acting against climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable management.
  • It helps to encapsulate the combined effort to hold the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
  • The document came after nearly two years of intense consultation, engagement and negotiation with member countries at UN Rio Convention.

Key objectives

  • Leaders and their representatives noted with concern in the charter the alarming decline in the health and productivity of global land resources.
  • It aimed to support member countries to effectively deliver their commitments under the three Rio conventions:
  • UN Convention on Biological Diversity
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Major outcomes

  • The attendees also underlined the principle of “critical guardianship” provided by indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting land and vital ecosystem services.
  • The agreement was released along with a final wide-ranging communiqué by leaders, including on specific items on climate change.
  • Country heads underscored in it that the “urgent threat of climate change” exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and presents a significant threat to COVID-19 recovery efforts.