Grasslands and savannahs are facing among the fastest and largest rates of conversion and degradation of any biome, resulting in significant biodiversity loss, carbon emissions, and impact on freshwater systems. Although many human activities contribute to this problem, unsustainable agricultural production is the main driver. Moreover, only 8% of these biomes are protected, and protection for some grassland and savannah ecosystems is far less. A lack of awareness of their value contributes to their vulnerability and has resulted in limited action on the global conservation agenda.
AIM OF THE DIALOGUE
- Exchange knowledge and insights about grassland protection, management and restoration
- Share lessons learned from practical approaches and support implementation on the ground
- Improve grassland ecosystem maps and monitoring
- Elevate grassland and savannah ecosystems to the global conservation and climate agendas
- Develop joint science and policy papers
- Cooperate on potential funding opportunities
OPPORTUNITIES FOR POLICY AND ADVOCACY
2020-2021 is the time to act on behalf of grasslands and savannahs, due to many commitments and decisions from world leaders that will set the direction for our planet’s future, including: the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and enhancement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. Further, momentum is building for grasslands conservation: a proposal for the designation of an “International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists” (IYRP) has been presented, an IUCN World Congress Motion titled “Protecting and Restoring Endangered Grassland Ecosystems” is in discussion, and the topic of restoration will play an important role in the next UNCCD Conference.