Land, Climate and Energy

The kingdom of Eswatini remains committed to the five strategic objectives of the United Nations Convention to combat desertification. The country is working towards achieving Land degradation Neutrality by 2030 and address loss of biodiversity through ecosystem restoration and land rehabilitation. The target is to improve food security and restore ecosystem services that will benefit the rural poor.  

Land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation is complimentary to the Global transition towards renewable energy.

Forest, trees and agroforestry systems have an important role to play in both emission reduction and the mitigation of climate change. They play a key role in the necessary adaptation and mitigation processes.

They can also provide bio energy resources for the transition to a cleaner energy system, as emphasized by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There can be no effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and policies without involving the potential of forests, trees and agroforestry resources in integrative cross-sectoral approaches.

Bio-energy is part of a coherent approach across Forests, Trees Agroforestry that considers energy, poverty, climate change, and food and nutritional security through diverse production systems involving forest landscapes.  Bio-energy is key to improving the sustainability of the energy sector and achieving the Paris goals.


The role of forests and trees in mitigating climate change and capturing and storing carbon in biomass and soil is well recognized. Over the past few decades, a variety of schemes have been designed to leverage this mitigation potential. Today, with climate change impacts already having immediate, dramatic impacts on smallholder farmers, it is time to have a more balanced approach.

That’s why we are calling for a shift of focus from trees and mitigation to trees and adaptation. There is a need to explore what forests, trees and agro-forestry can bring to the adaptation of other sectors, particularly agriculture.

This coincides with a need to change perspectives, from a dominant global perspective centered on carbon, to a local perspective centered on what works for farmers in a particular place. There is growing understanding that tree planting initiatives for mitigation won’t happen unless they benefit farmers locally. Farmers, however, will plant trees if they see how they help their livelihood systems become more resilient to climate change.

Benefits and Role of forests:

  • Forests help stabilize the climate.They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and can help drive sustainable growth.
  • To maximize the climate benefits of forests, we must keep moreforest landscapes intact, manage them more sustainably, and restore more of those landscapes which we have lost.
  • Halting the loss and degradation of natural systems and promoting their restoration have the potential tocontribute over one-third of the total climate change mitigation scientists say is required by 2030. 
  • Restoring 350 million hectaresof degraded land in line with the Bonn Challenge could sequester up to 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.  
  • As the world debates how to operationalize the Paris Agreement, it is imperative that national leaders accelerate these actions. This can be done by subscribing to and implementing the New York Declaration on Forests, sustain forest climate financing, and include forest and land use in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
  • Nature – and in particular, trees and forests – can and must be part of the solution to keeping the climate within the globally accepted two-degree temperature increase limit.

The land plays a vital role in the carbon cycle, both by absorbing greenhouse gases and by releasing them into the atmosphere. This means our land resources are both part of the climate change problem and potentially part of the solution.

Improving how we manage the land could reduce climate change at the same time as it improves agricultural sustainability, supports biodiversity, and increases security. Tools such as integrated land use planning and sustainable land management treat land as a multifunctional asset, they can “provide multiple benefits from the same piece of land at the same time”. This means that such approaches can fulfill the aims of different multilateral environmental agreements at the same time, including the three Rio conventions: UNFCCC (climate), UNCCD (desertification) and UNCBD (biodiversity). According to literature “if we were to restore just 12% of all degraded agricultural land, we would boost smallholder income by USD 35-40 billion a year, feeding 200 million people per year within the next 14 years.

Land is a valuable and finite resource that provides a wide range of goods and services to society. Both the ability of land managers and the capacity of the land to provide goods such as food, bioenergy and clean water become more difficult as the population continues to grow and climate variability increases. This raises questions over how the multiple demands placed on land can be managed both now and into the future. Whilst the importance of land to national economies appears obvious, in recent years numerous policies and planning trajectories, with competing and contradictory implications for land management, have emerged.

Greater policy coherence among the three sectors (water, energy and agriculture) is critical in moving to a sustainable and efficient use of resources. The nexus approach can enhance understanding of the interconnectedness of the sectors and strengthen coordination among them. But it requires a major shift in the decision-making process towards taking a holistic view and developing institutional mechanisms to coordinate the actions of diverse actors and strengthen complementarities and synergies among the three sectors.

Access to energy is a universal issue – and one which impacts both people and nature.

Improving access to clean, reliable and affordable energy will help sustainable development, decent livelihoods and provide basic services for the poor — mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where more than 3 billion people suffer from energy poverty.

To help accelerate the process of achieving a world powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050, it is critical to engage with key governments around the world to encourage them to agree to take steps to end energy poverty by 2030. The essence of this strategy is to demonstrate that there are viable, sustainable energy access solutions for energy-poor people in developing countries – and to encourage these solutions to be replicated and scaled up in different areas.

This can help build a world where countries are committed to focusing on energy access and taking a renewable energy / low carbon path initiatives.

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