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.
- 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
- 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.