Activities under this topic will help to progress towards the objectives of the Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’, in particular its specific objective 1, “Reduce land degradation relating to desertification”.
Project results should contribute to all of the following outcomes:
- The socio-economic and climatic drivers, the extent and the impacts of different types of land degradation (incl. water scarcity, vegetation loss, soil erosion) in (semi-)natural and agricultural systems of arid areas and areas becoming increasingly arid are clearly understood, accurately and reliably measured at the most relevant scale and in connection with specific land uses. This knowledge is widely shared among relevant actors from various sectors.
- The economic viability and environmental effectiveness of solutions for the prevention of desertification and for the restoration of degraded land (such as soil protection measures that help retain water and reduce water needs, improve management of soil organic matter, avoid salinization, protect biodiversity, minimise soil sealing and increase land resilience to droughts) is demonstrated in the different local or regional contexts.
- Enhanced access for land managers in desertification-prone areas to effective, context-specific restoration and prevention solutions and to information about the conditions under which they are effective.
- The number and size of areas under sustainable soil and water management are expanded, and the retention of moisture in the landscape and the management of soil organic matter are improved across different land-use types and local-regional conditions. In consequence, dryland soils become more resilient and less vulnerable to drought and desertification.
In 2017, 25% of land in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe was estimated to be at high or very high risk of desertification. The risk is likely to have further increased since then, and to continue increasing because of accelerating climate change and continued pressures from land use and land-use change. Desertification leads to loss of biodiversity, of organic carbon and of other land-based ecosystem services, including reduced agricultural and forest productivity. Desertification further amplifies global warming through the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases linked with the decrease in vegetation cover. Thus, it has severe environmental, social and economic consequences which need to be urgently tackled.
Proposed activities should:
- Synthesise and gather evidence on the drivers and impacts of land degradation at all relevant scales, using diverse data flows and where relevant models, with a view to supporting alternative land management actions (scenarios) that alleviate the pressures from land uses and land-use changes leading to desertification.
- Identify, demonstrate the effectiveness, and promote the scale-up of measures for reducing and reversing desertification and increasing soil’s water-retention capacity, taking into account (actual and projected) changes in climatic conditions. Work should be carried out at different scales and address various types of land use (agriculture, forestry and natural land) and land use changes. Due attention should be given to the role of plant and microbial diversity in increasing the resilience of land vis-a-vis desertification processes.
- Specifically for agricultural land including both conventional and organic farming, identify and demonstrate farming or other land-use practices which are more resilient and are suitable for combatting desertification while sustaining ecosystem services and preventing land abandonment.
- Facilitate learning and exchange among all relevant actors, including across sectors, by promoting in the scope of activities various types of innovations (nature-based, technological, socio-economic, cultural and institutional) and/or various types of land use (natural and semi-natural as well as agricultural, agroforestry and forest areas).
- Develop policy recommendations for creating incentives and overcoming obstacles for the widespread uptake of measures that have demonstrated to be effective for the prevention of desertification and restoration and are suitable for scaling-up.
- Carry-out activities for awareness-raising on desertification and for the demonstration and dissemination of solutions, also as part of the UN Day to combat desertification and drought.
Deadline: 20 September 2023
More information: Funding and Tenders