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Syngenta and UNCCD build partnership for a Soil Leadership Academy 

Basel, Switzerland, April 10, 2014 

Syngenta today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to establish and operationalize the Soil Leadership Academy.

The Academy aims to address the soil conservation challenge globally. It will engage research institutes, universities, and on-the-ground practitioners to share knowledge and expertise in soil conservation and sustainable land management. Policy makers and land users worldwide will have access to critical information and interactive training approaches such as simulation exercises, practical case studies, field demonstrations, videos, and smartphone apps.

Mike Mack, CEO Syngenta, said, "The partnership with UNCCD is a strong signal that we can and must move from dialogue to collective action to address the acute global challenges we face. The Soil Leadership Academy will not only increase understanding of soil erosion and desertification, but promote the wide adoption of simple and pragmatic practices to protect and improve soil health at scale."

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), commented: "The Soil Leadership Academy is an innovative public-private partnership that will help train and inspire decision makers to make smart choices about how to manage land and soil."

The UNCCD estimates that globally, at least, 24 percent of usable land is already degraded. On average, every year we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil to degradation. As a result, more than 12 million hectares of productive land becomes barren due to desertification and drought processes.

The Soil Leadership Academy will support UNCCD's aim to stop and help reverse negative land degradation trends. Through The Good Growth Plan, Syngenta has committed to improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation.

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Paul Barrett
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