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Commission on Sustainable Development
CSD 2000

[ Back to CSD 2000 ]

Decision on Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources

1. Introduction

1. The main objectives of activities in the area of integrated planning and management of land resources must be pursued in full accordance with Agenda 21 and the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. It is important that countries address sustainable development through a holistic approach, such as ecosystem-based management. This approach would address interactions among land resources, water, air, biota and human activities, in order to meet the priority challenges of desertification and drought, sustainable mountain development, prevention and mitigation of land degradation, coastal zones, deforestation, climate change, rural and urban land use, urban growth and conservation of biological diversity. Integrated watershed management provides one of the commonly-understood frameworks for achieving a holistic approach to sustainable development. The application of the ecosystem-based approach should take into consideration the livelihood opportunities of people living in poverty in rural areas, and a balance should be found through the use of policy instruments between environmental conservation and rural livelihood.

2. The importance of integrated planning and management of land resources derives from the unprecedented population pressures and demands of society on land, water and other natural resources, as well as the increasing degradation of resources and threats to the stability and resilience of ecosystems and the environment as a whole, in part as a result of climate change. These trends highlight the need for each country to ensure for its citizens within the limit of its national legislation, equal access and rights to land, water and other natural and biological resources, and to resolve competition among various domestic sectors for land resources.

3. The challenge is to develop and promote sustainable and productive land-use management systems as part of national and local strategies for sustainable development and to protect critical natural resources and ecosystems through balancing land, water and other natural resources. Governments are encouraged to provide transparent, effective, participatory and accountable governance conducive to sustainable development and responsive to the needs of people. Social and health aspects of land use systems deserve particular attention and should be integrated into the overall planning process.

2. Priorities for future work

4. The review of implementation of Agenda 21 in 2002 will benefit from the outcome of the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Priority areas for future work should be defined by CSD and should include the following:
• Prevention and/or mitigation of land degradation;
• Access to land and security of tenure;
• Critical sectors and issues: biodiversity, forests, drylands, rehabilitation of mining areas, mountain areas, wetlands and coastal zones, coral reefs, natural disasters, and rural-urban and land management interactions;
• Access to information and stakeholder participation;
• International cooperation, including that for capacity building, information sharing and technology transfer; and
• Minerals, metals and rehabilitation in the context of sustainable development.

3. Prevention and/or mitigation of land degradation

5. Governments and the international community are urged to make concerted efforts to eradicate poverty and to review unsustainable patterns of production and consumption as a crucial means for reducing land degradation, desertification, deforestation and destruction of biological diversity. Appropriate policies for planning and development are essential for ensuring the sustainable livelihoods of people living in poverty, including among rural communities.

6. Governments and the international community are encouraged to promote soil, water and vegetation conservation, protection, restoration and enhancement measures as a prerequisite for sustainable land management, agricultural production, food security, the protection of biological diversity, as well as for the prevention and mitigation of land degradation and natural disasters. In this regard, Governments, the international community, international organizations and other stakeholders are encouraged to develop partnerships to share information on and promote access to appropriate technologies and traditional knowledge.

7. The Commission recognised the important role that the international community, particularly States involved in the deployment of mines, can play in assisting mine clearance in mine-affected countries through the provision of necessary maps and information and appropriate technical and material assistance to remove or otherwise render ineffective existing minefields, mines and booby-traps. Governments, the international community and other relevant actors are encouraged to formulate and implement strategies that specifically deal with the rehabilitation of land degraded by land mines, which cause human and environmental hazards and obstruct development plans, in accordance with international norms, standards and agreements.

8. Governments are encouraged to strengthen national, regional and local institutional frameworks for cross-sectoral cooperation in the formulation and implementation of land policies, taking into account specific national conditions and legislation.

4. Access to land and security of tenure

9. Recognising the existence of different national laws and/or systems of land access and tenure, Governments, at appropriate levels, including the local authorities, are encouraged to develop and/or adopt policies and implement laws that guarantee to their citizens well-defined and enforceable land rights and promote equal access to land and legal security of tenure, in particular for women and disadvantaged groups, including people living in poverty and indigenous and local communities.

10. Governments are encouraged to develop adequate land administration systems supporting sustainable land tenure on the basis of land cadastres, land management, land valuation, land planning and monitoring and supervision of land use, where appropriate.

11. Governments are encouraged to include traditional land owners, land users and the landless, when undertaking land tenure reform, including the development of land cadastres, so as to focus on making traditional land owners and the landless as active participants in the planning and development of land resources.

12. The international community and United Nations agencies and organizations are encouraged to provide technical and financial support to governments' efforts to minimize socio-economic obstacles related to access to land and security of tenure.

5. Critical sectors and issues

(a) Biodiversity

13. Governments are urged to sign and ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to support its effective implementation.

14. Governments and United Nations organizations are encouraged to promote only those applications of biotechnology that do not pose unacceptable risks to public health or the environment, bearing in mind ethical considerations, as appropriate.

15. Appropriate authorities are encouraged to ensure that land management plans and policies reflect priority consideration of: (1) areas containing high concentrations of biological diversity; (2) threatened ecosystems; and (3) species at risk.

(b) Forests

16. Governments and the international community are urged to effectively implement proposals for action emanating from the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

(c) Drylands

17. Governments and the international community are urged to undertake appropriate measures to address recurring droughts, desertification, the degradation of fragile land resources, and the depletion of scarce water resources in drylands. Priority is to be given to areas where there are high-population pressures and droughts.

(d) Mountain Areas

18. Governments are urged to adequately plan and manage land resources in mountainous areas and associated lowlands, whose ecological processes are highly interdependent, and which are crucial for the integrated management of watersheds. In this regard, Governments and other mountain key players are also urged to recognize that small-scale livelihood systems are best suited to the niche economies that characterize fragile and complex mountain environments.

19. In cases where general use of mountain resources occurs, Governments are further urged to ensure that a significant proportion of derived benefits is reinvested locally for continued conservation and sound management of these critical land areas by local communities.

(e) Wetlands and coastal zones

20. Governments at all levels are encouraged to take into account the importance of conserving wetlands and critical coastal zones, including protected areas and other fragile ecosystems, in the formulation of national and subnational sustainable development strategies. Governments and the international community are encouraged to implement the recommendations of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.

(f) Natural disasters

21. Governments and the international community are encouraged to formulate and implement strategies, in particular preventive ones, both short-term and long-term, for disaster management -including the development of appropriate early warning systems and intervention plans - to address phenomena associated with natural disasters, which result, inter alia, in land degradation and other negative social and economic impacts. In this regard, Governments and relevant regional and international organizations are urged to provide financial and technical assistance for relief and remedial support to developing countries and those with economies in transition.

(g) Rural-urban and land management interactions

22. Governments at national and local levels are urged to take strategic land management approaches aimed at creating enabling conditions, including for rural-urban interactions in which the development of human settlements can benefit disadvantaged groups, especially people living in poverty in rural and urban areas. Governments at national and local levels should also take strategic urban planning approaches aimed at managing urban growth and limiting urban sprawl.

23. Governments at national and local levels are encouraged to take into account land-use interdependence between rural and urban areas, and undertake implementation of integrated approaches to their administration, which is essential to sustainable rural and urban development and a more sustainable livelihood for people living in poverty. Governments at national and local levels and the international community are encouraged to adopt a strategic urban planning approach and to integrate them into urban land management planning with strategies for sustainable development, with particular reference to transportation, housing, infrastructure, and urban agriculture. In this context, Governments are also urged to promote sustainable development at the peripheries of existing urban areas including informal settlements and urban sprawl.

24. Governments are urged to take into account the strategic role and responsibilities of local authorities and stakeholders in sustainable land use and are encouraged to empower local governments and local communities in the formulation and implementation, through, inter alia, financial and technical support of sustainable land use practices that promote interaction between rural and urban areas.

(h) Minerals, metals and rehabilitation in the context of sustainable development

25. Governments, the international community and other relevant actors, are urged to examine the social, economic, and environmental impacts of minerals extraction and metals production and are encouraged to formulate and implement strategies that provide for the rehabilitation of land degraded by mining.

6. Stakeholder participation

26. Governments are urged to develop and strengthen capacity and institutional frameworks for effective participation of and access to information by all stakeholders, including women, land workers, people living in poverty, indigenous and local communities and young people in rural and urban land use planning and management.

27. Governments are invited to pursue or strengthen, as appropriate, the participation of all stakeholders in land use planning and management.

7. International cooperation, including that for capacity building, information sharing and technology transfer

28. Governments and the international community are urged to fulfill the financial commitments as set out in chapter 33 of Agenda 21 to effectively support the implementation of integrated planning and management of land resources in developing countries, taking into account priorities identified by those countries.

29. The United Nations system is urged to support Governments in further promoting the implementation of the Habitat Agenda,4 adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) (Istanbul, June 1996) and in linking it to the implementation of Agenda 21, including local Agenda 21 programmes. Support for the five-year review of Habitat II is encouraged.

30. Governments, in particular those of developed countries, and international organizations are further urged, including through appropriate arrangements, to provide technological assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to implement the integrated planning and management of land resources, as recommended in Agenda 21.

31. Governments and relevant international institutions are encouraged to develop and to use at all levels appropriate land-use indicators, best practices and related monitoring systems.

32. Governments are invited to consider cooperating, as appropriate, in the area of integrated planning and management of land resources, through information and experience sharing.

33. Governments, in particular those of developed countries, are urged, through appropriate arrangements, to further strengthen the use and transfer of appropriate technologies that are best adapted and suited to local conditions in developing countries, including Decision Support Systems, such as geographical information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), for integrated planning and management of land and other natural resources. In addition, Governments are urged to strengthen the capabilities of developing countries for the application of these technologies.

34. Governments are urged to promote land-related research, and extension and dissemination of technological information and innovative practices, and to undertake training programmes for land users, including farmers and agro-food industries, women and local communities, where appropriate, and other relevant stakeholders. In this regard, developed countries and the international community are urged to improve access to up-to-date information and technology by developing countries.

35. Governments are encouraged to sign, ratify and support the effective implementation of relevant international agreements, including the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa (CCD) (A/49/84/Add.2, annex, appendix II), as vital instruments for achieving integrated planning and management of land resources, and calls for additional support for their implementation.

36. States that have not yet done so are encouraged to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change and to take account of the complementarities among the relevant international instruments in order to improve land-use and land management, to promote sustainable forest and land-use practices and to generate the multiple benefits that may accrue from the implementation of these instruments, in particular with respect to combating desertification, loss of biodiversity and degradation of freshwater resources and carbon sequestration.

37. Governments are urged to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

38. The United Nations and other international development organizations are urged to assist developing countries in their efforts to achieve integrated planning and management of land resources, through financial support, transfer of environmentally sound technologies on mutually agreed terms, capacity-building and education and training.

39. Governments are encouraged - taking into account work being done by, inter alia, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), the regional commissions, other United Nations bodies and the Commission on Sustainable Development, as well as national and regional organizations, as appropriate - to further consider the development and use of appropriate land-use indicators and monitoring systems for the purpose of assessing progress in the implementation of programmes for sustainable development, with special attention to the gender perspective.

Document made available in electronic format by the UN.

 

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