Caux Dialogue on Land and Security

Part of the Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace

The Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (July 7-11, 2013) explored the potential of sustainable land management as a driver of peace, development and climate change mitigation by bringing together individuals, governments, international organizations, NGOs and business in a unique environment.

Convened by Luc Gnacdja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun in Caux – a mountain village 1000 meters above Lake Geneva in Switzerland – the Dialogue concluded with a flourish following 4 days of inspiring speeches, informational workshops and a rich opportunity to meet fellow experts on drylands agriculture, land management and conflict resolution/peacebuilding initiatives.

Download the final brochure and conference programme here.

'It is no coincidence that more than 75% of the world’s conflicts occur in dryland areas - home to only 35% of the world’s population.' - Bianca Jagger, Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and Ambassador for IUCN's Plant a Pledge – the biggest restoration initiative the world has ever seen.

See photos from the 2013 Caux Dialogue here >>


Luc GnacadjaLuc Gnacadja spoke of land degradation around the world, referring especially to the plight of the Sahel and the ensuing instability and conflict in the region as a result of drought and desertification. He identified water and fertile soil as important commodities that need to be secured for the sake of future generation and introduced a major theme of the evening using a Korean adage, 'the body and soil are not two'. The full text of his speech will be made available shortly.


Bianca JaggerBianca Jagger pressed for urgent action on land degradation, noting that hunger, climate change, and land security are all interconnected, and that our short-term, profit-driven views undermine our future. Ms. Jagger’s full speech is available here.


Simon MaddrellSimon Maddrell, Executive Director at Excellent Development, presented the success of sand dams – a revolutionary technology to conserve soil and water in drylands. Sand dams provide communities the opportunity to practice climate smart agriculture for livestock, terracing, and fish farms. Simon’s speech, workshop presentation and a brief film about sand dams is available below.

Caux Panel Presentation text and slides and the Pioneering Sand Dams Brochure.


Dennis Hamro-DrotzDennis Hamro-Drotz’s eye opening presentation on UNEP’s project looking at the link between climate change, migration and conflict in the Sahel urged action on climate change to build sustainable peace.


Adam KoniuszweskiAdam Koniuszewski, COO at Green Cross International spoke about their role in land restoration from chemical weapons and pesticides. Koniuszewski spoke about the consequences of the Cold War, the situation in Kuwait and the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam on land and water resources. “Hope is in our hands”, concluded Koniuszewski, describing the restoration of wastelands in Senegal that are now organic farms. Koniuszewski's presentation is available here; he speaks about his experience at Caux in his blog here.


Professor Rattan LalProfessor Rattan Lal, professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University (USA), delivered a spirited Keynote speech on the unsustainability of our current consumption practices, and reiterated that good soils are a national asset. In addition to describing several manmade causes of soil degradation, he also spoke of the dire "Trilemma of Soil Degradation," whereby population growth and the resulting increase in deforestation, carbon emissions, and urban encroachment contributes to soil degradation, starvation and death, in turn creating waste, political instability and civil strife. In order to mitigate such a grim outcome he urged participants to reconsider the impact of their existence on the land, noting that life, after all, is more important than lifestyle.


Tony RinaudoTony Rinaudo, Natural Resources Management Specialist at World Vision Australia told us about his experiences in Niger where he stumbled upon the underground forests that lay beneath the desert bushes. Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is a low-cost, sustainable land-restoration technique used to combat poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers in developing countries by increasing food and timber production, and resilience to climate extremes. FMNR involves the systematic regeneration and management of trees and shrubs from tree stumps, roots and seeds. Drylands are not wastelands – they are waiting lands, he concluded.


Friday, 23 December, 2011

During the Durban Climate Summit, a team from Initiatives of Change (IofC) were present as official observers and as part of the wider civil society engagement with the inter-governmental negotiations. Their particular brief was the impact of climate change on conflict and human security. On 8 December they organized a side event in partnership with the EU-funded Climate Change, Hydro-Conflicts and Human Security (CLICO) project, attended by about 40 people. Firyal Mohamed reports.

Tuesday, 01 May, 2012
The Area Chief of Marigat, Zaphania Lekachuma, attended several sessions of the workshop

Kenya’s Baringo County is home to several pastoral communities whose livelihood depends on cattle. These communities are also known in Kenya for cattle-rustling. The scramble for pasture and water often leaves people counting their losses. In many instances, death and injuries are reported, on top of the animals stolen. Thirty-five leaders, representing all the main groups, gathered in Marigat town, near Lake Baringo, from 20-22 April, for a workshop entitled ‘Trust-building for sustainable development.

Sunday, 01 July, 2012
Luc Gnacadja 140x

Despite some pessimistic evaluations of the Rio+20 summit, some progress was made - particularly on the issue of land degradation. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, offers his evaluation of Rio+ 20. On 9 July he will lead a special day on Restoring Land, Restoring Lives at the Initiatives of Change international conference centre in Caux, Switzerland.