GGGI’s Assembly President and Council Chair Ban Ki-moon urges global efforts on Land Degradation Neutrality and support for the Inter-Korean Peace Forest Initiative

Seoul, July 5 – Mr. Ban Ki-moon, GGGI’s Assembly President and Council Chair, highlighted the urgent need of implementing Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in the context of contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, the Nationally Determined Contributions, and the post-conflict process.

During his congratulatory remarks at the 1st Global Land Neutrality Degradation Forum on July 5, 2018, hosted by the Korea Forest Service, in partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Mr. Ban said, “With growing pressures on our lands, we – as both the caretakers and offenders of our planet – need to prevent future losses in social, natural and economic capital through the development and implementation of land degradation neutrality.”

The two-day forum, held in Seoul and attended by more than 200 participants from governments, international organizations, NGOs, the private sector and academia, provided an opportunity to discuss experiences on how the global community can strengthen partnerships to support achieving LDN.

High-level delegates from hosting organizations, including Jae Hyun Kim, Minister of the Korea Forest Service (KFS); Hyun Cho, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; and Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of UNCCD, emphasized the urgent need for implementing LDN through an integrated and holistic approach towards land management, which will have consequences not only from the perspective of environmental conservation such as desertification, but also from the one of food security and poverty reduction.

The Forum also looked into options to promote peace and security in order to improve the living conditions of communities in cross-border regions through LDN implementation, by sharing global experience. In particular, with the recent inter-Korean détente – which enabled the historic and timely working-level talks over forestry cooperation on July 4 – GGGI’s President and Chair Ban and high-level participants highlighted the possibility of linking and applying this global effort to the inter-Korean dialogue.

“Just a short drive due north from here, there exists one of the gravest environmental situations – I hope, based on KFS’ successful experiences on the forestry sector, GGGI, UNCCD, and other international partners can play a key role in supporting the momentum”, said President Ban.

The ongoing inter-Korean dialogue is focused on the science/technology-based cooperation on forest pest management, agroforesty, modernization of tree nurseries, and on increasing the capacity to fight against forest fires.

“I’d like to request international cooperation for implementing our Peace Forest Initiative with North Korea – this Forum is a starting point to take this timely and historic journey”, said Jae Hyun Kim, Minister of Korea Forest Service.

Mr. Ban had previously mentioned during his inaugural speech as the President and Chair of GGGI, that the Institute could play a role – as an intergovernmental organization based in Korea – in bringing a green growth model to all of the Korean peninsula, which can help lead to peace and stability throughout the peninsula and the region.


  • Land degradation neutrality (LDN) is defined as “a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems”. The goal of LDN is maintaining or enhancing the land resource base – in other words, the stocks of natural capital associated with land resources and the ecosystem services that flow from them. (source: UNCCD)
  • During the technical session held on July 4, GGGI expert Juhern Kim introduced GGGI’s experience on LDN by sharing the Institute’s strategy on sustainable landscapes, and ongoing work with the Government of Colombia, in terms of supporting LDN while contributing to the post-conflict process of the country.