Vanessa Gaibar Constansó, an Online Volunteer engaged through UNV, supported UNCCD Germany's initiative to restore and preserve lands.
Vanessa Gaibar Constansó, an Online Volunteer engaged through UNV, supported UNCCD Germany's initiative to restore and preserve lands.

Supporting land restoration and preservation through Online Volunteering with UNCCD

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is developing a global Land Restoration Information Hub which comprises a wide range of data sets on land and habitat restoration. To collect substantial data at local and global level, 126 Online Volunteers engaged through UNV served with UNCCD headquarters in Germany since March 2023. Hamid, Nicole and Vanessa are three of the Online Volunteers who supported UNCCD’s efforts with their skills and collaboration.

As we are leaving the third year of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration behind us, UNCCD is introducing innovative ways to combat climate change and its effects. Keeping technological developments in focus, the Land Restoration Information Hub aims to provide easy access to information and encourage collaboration and engagement by collecting data and best practices on one platform. By doing so, the platform will be contributing to the overall target of the G20 Global Land Initiative, an environmental protection project to restore the degraded lands, prevent habitat loss and promote sustainable and resilient land management.

When I came across to this opportunity, the idea of contributing to the UNCCD mission to protect and restore land and ensure a more fair and sustainable future for everyone really appealed to me. --Vanessa Gaibar Constansó, Online Volunteer with UNCCD

As a researcher and human rights specialist with a background in social and cultural anthropology, Vanessa Gaibar Constansó witnessed how climate change impacted the most vulnerable communities and felt the urge to contribute achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land.

Vanessa offered her skills and knowledge as an Online Volunteer. By collecting 100 land and ecosystem restoration practices focused on youth, women, local and indigenous initiatives in Latin America and Caribbean, she supported UNCCD’s project to highlight the best practices of local communities and make them more visible globally.

With his experiences in data management and analysis, Hamid Reza Zamanian successfully created an online inventory of video documentaries and techniques of land, forest and ecosystem restoration around the world to provide training materials and display best practices. The aim is to collect 1000 videos in total at the end of the project for various non-profit uses.

To disseminate the innovative and fruitful approaches globally, the initiative intended to compile a list of educational programmes. As a senior education consultant, Nicole Lantz took on this responsibility as an Online Volunteer. Nicole conducted research on land degradation and ecosystem restoration courses in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, including but not limited to AI and drone technology. Nicole was inspired by how other countries design their programmes and discovered her passion and eagerness to make a positive impact.

It’s a great feeling to be part of a community of people. This experience was unique in that it always felt collaborative—everyone is there to contribute as much as they can. --Nicole Lantz, Online Volunteer with UNCCD

Since the beginning of their Online Volunteering journey, Vanessa, Hamid and Nicole collaborated closely with Erkan Güler, a Data and GIS Expert with UNCCD. From the first training session to this day, Erkan has been interacting with Online Volunteers as much as possible. Even though they have completed their tasks, the Online Volunteers have been added to UNCCD’s mailing list in order to develop a network, stay informed about upcoming webinars and events and celebrate their contributions.

We keep the Online Volunteers informed about all our activities, such as webinars and training sessions, and consider them part of our family. This creates mutual trust and interaction, and we continue to receive feedback from them on various matters. In other words, we have both learned from this process. --Erkan Güler, Data and GIS Expert with UNCCD, Germany

Check out how you could engage Online Volunteers. You can also learn more about how to become an Online Volunteer.