Empowering indigenous peoples for land restoration: Australia will take home the Bronze Future Policy Award 2017. Also known as “Oscar for Best Policies”, the Future Policy Award highlights the world’s best policies that combat desertification and land degradation this year.
Australia is the world’s driest continent and droughts occur that may last for many seasons. Its Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) Programme of 1997 and the Working on Country Indigenous Ranger Programme of 2007 enable indigenous peoples to be at the forefront of fighting land degradation and desertification in Australia. As a result, almost 70 million hectares are dedicated IPAs creating the largest protected zone of arid land on Earth and circa 90 per cent of Indigenous Ranger teams carry out in particular traditional fire management, saving enormous expanses of land from destruction, whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Monique Barbut, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD):
“Drylands cover close to 40% of the Earth’s land surface. Hundreds of millions of people are directly threatened by land degradation and climate change is only going to intensify the problem. So far, this underestimated environmental disaster has received far too little attention. The Future Policy Award 2017 is turning the spotlight on the looming environmental challenge and effective responses. The seven Future Policy Awardees are all from affected countries, and demonstrate great environmental and political determination.”
Alexandra Wandel, Director of the World Future Council (WFC):
“Australia’s win of the Bronze Future Policy Award is sending a strong, empowering message: they show how a country vulnerable to desertification and climate change can find a smart and highly effective way to successfully address a global challenge.This is placing Australia, along with the other Future Policy Awardees, firmly on the map as an environmental leader.”
About the Award
The Future Policy Award is the only award which honours policies rather than people on an international level. Each year, the World Future Council chooses a topic for the Future Policy Award on which policy progress is particularly urgent. In 2017, in partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), laws and policies were evaluated that contribute to the protection of life and livelihoods in the drylands, and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 15, target 3, to “combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.” The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in September 2017, at the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD in Ordos, China.