April 16, 2014

Land-mending advocate to give Iscol lecture April 22

Luc Gnacadja
Gnacadja

Luc Gnacadja, former executive director of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and a guiding international voice for sustainable land development, will deliver the 2014 Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture April 22. His talk, “Grounding Human Security: Land and Soil in the Global Sustainability Agenda,” will be at 5 p.m. in Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall.

Gnacadja (pronounced NAH-kah-jah) is known worldwide as a passionate advocate for landscapes and their ecological restoration. He says that degraded soils in developing countries are underperforming assets and that for investors, land restoration should be very attractive. For governments in developing regions, he says, continued inaction drives restoration costs higher.

Lecture on Livestream.
The 2014 Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture, featuring Luc Gnacadja, past executive secretary for the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, will be available via Livestream.

Gnacadja led sustainable land development negotiations for Rio+20, the June 2012 U.N. conference on sustainable development.

Born in the Republic of Benin, West Africa, Gnacadja earned an architecture degree at the African Crafts School of Architecture and Urbanism in Lomé, Togo, and studied at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the World Bank Institute. Gnacadja was Benin’s minister of environment, housing and urban development. He represented Benin as head of the delegation to the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification and the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change and Convention on Biological Diversity.

“Mr. Gnacadja’s work in Benin and at the United Nations has been vital to bringing the issue of land – from land and soil quality to questions of access and equity – to the attention of the global community,” said Sara B. Pritchard, associate professor of science and technology studies, and chair of the Iscol Committee, which selects the speaker. “Our committee is proud to bring such an influential leader to speak about these important issues,” she said.

The Iscol lecture brings eminent scholars, scientists, newsmakers and opinion leaders to Cornell to address environmental issues. Hosted by the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Iscol Lecture recognizes interdisciplinary scholarship on the frontier of scientific inquiry.