Implementing Land Degradation Neutrality (SDG 15.3) at National Level: General Approach, Indicator Selection and Experiences from Germany

  • Stephanie Wunder
  • Timo Kaphengst
  • Ana Frelih-Larsen
Part of the International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy book series (IYSLP, volume 2017)


In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including target 15.3, which aims to strive towards land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030. This has opened a ‘window of opportunity’ for many countries to strengthen policies for sustainable use of land and soils. This chapter first outlines the concept, the main elements and the current international framework for assessing the progress towards SDG target 15.3. It proposes a stepwise approach to further tailor national requirements with the overall goal of LDN implementation. Since both the concept of LDN and the internationally agreed implementation framework leave room for national interpretation, the example of Germany is used to illustrate how the implementation process can be set up at the national level and what experiences have been made.

Finally, as a contribution to the current debate on suitable indicators for LDN, this chapter further outlines how an indicator that combines the assessment of land-use changes (LUC) with the hemeroby (naturalness) concept can be used to serve as a proxy indicator for LDN. We argue that taking LUC as the basis for the assessment of LDN can be a relevant indicator as there are strong correlations between land uses/land-use changes and soil quality. This also offers the advantage that assessments can build on comparably good data from national statistics and remote sensing.

This chapter builds on the insights of the German research project ‘Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals on Soils in Germany’ carried out by the Ecologic Institute on behalf of the German Environment Agency and the German Federal Environment Ministry. The project was finalised in July 2017.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Wunder
    • 1
  • Timo Kaphengst
    • 1
  • Ana Frelih-Larsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecologic InstituteBerlinGermany

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