United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


CSD 17/IPM on Agriculture, Rural development, Land, Drought, Desertification, and
Africa, New York, 23 ? 27 February 2009
Intervention on Land held by Daniel Ziegerer on 25 February 2009
behalf of the Swiss Delegation
Thank you Madam Chair,
Let me start by thanking the secretariat for elaborating a very useful document on
possible policy options and actions on the issue of land. The Swiss Delegation would
like to highlight three specific topics: Firstly, the issue of tenure rights, secondly, the
need for effective land use strategies, and thirdly, payments for ecosystem services.
Tenure rights
Secure tenure land rights as well as effective policies and institutions to manage land
and related natural resources are prerequisites for stimulating investment in increased
agricultural productivity and sustainable rural development.
There are many forms of tenure arrangements, depending on cultures, law traditions
and many other factors. Tenure rights can be formal or informal. They can be given
to individuals, families, groups or communities. Security and enforcement can be
provided by governments, by the judicial systems or by traditional arrangements. It
depends on the circumstances which tenure system works best. However, many of
the tenure systems that are in place lack transparency and enforcement and are not
functioning efficiently. One of the main reasons for this are weak governance structures.
The CSD-17 decision should therefore reflect the importance of the relationship between
secure tenure arrangements and a sustainable use of natural resources. Furthermore
the decision should call upon countries to take measures for improving existing
tenure systems, for enhancing capacity building measures in this regard and for
developing international guidelines for promoting more secure tenure arrangements.
Effective land use strategies
Let me turn to the issue of land use strategies. We need to be aware that there are
limits to increasing the productivity of our soils. We will therefore not be able to fully
compensate reduced land availability with increased productivity. Effective land use
strategies and spatial planning are needed at all levels in order to address the in2/
creasing pressure on limited land resources. This means for example that land available
for construction activities needs to be limited. It also means that protection for
fertile soils needs to be ensured.
Local measures will not be sufficient for conserving fertile soils and guaranteeing
food security in the future. Now is the time for thinking about a format for a new international
instrument and common objectives for the sustainable use of soil - including
agricultural land and grassland - in order to protect and monitor it more effectively at
the global level both from a quantitative as well as from a qualitative point of view.
Land provides ecosystem services
With regard to ecosystem services, Switzerland shares the view that greater recognition
is needed of the fact that land provides services that restore productivity, conserve
soil, water and biodiversity, sequester carbon, regulate climate and provide
landscape and cultural values. We hope that this CSD will recognise that payments
for ecosystem services or other incentives to foster the sustainable management of
land have proven to support the adoption of sustainable land management practices.
Thank you, Madam Chair.