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The first Online Support Session has been officially launched in March 2024. This is part of what the GEO-LDN Flagship offers to carry on and over the momentum of our successful Global Dialogue Forum (GDF) 2023 in Cape Town of South Africa. 14 intersectoral country teams gathered to present their use cases and develop corresponding roadmaps for 2024 for advancing their targets on land degradation neutrality (LDN). Exchanging experiences on national challenges was considered very helpful by all team. The 14 country teams were Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Belize, Brazil, Bosnia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mongolia, Iraq, Benin, Ethiopia, Colombia, Armenia and Peru.

Our main objective is to support partner countries to access and use geodata, tools and algorithms for evidence-based decision making to achieve or exceed LDN. We do this through two angles, namely by improving reporting on and monitoring of SDG 15.3.1 to UNCCD, and improving (sub)national implementation of LDN.

We also invite feedback from countries on available geodata and tools to further improve the LDN-toolbox based on specific user needs, and it increases the visibility of countries' efforts in utilizing geospatial data for LDN so that their voices can be amplified in the UNCCD-reporting process.

As one of the multiple formats support GEO-LDN offers, the Online Support Session has been introduced to allow and facilitate country teams to share the progress and challenges when implementing their roadmaps. These challenges can be directly addressed to a wide network of international LDN and geospatial experts and practitioners for peer-to-peer and south-south exchange. Countries can also benefit from the technical support from the first GEO-LDN helpdesk hosted at the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD). The first Online Support Session, held on March 19, brought the intersectoral country teams together to reinvigorate their passion in making an impact on reaching LDN targets and the associated SDGs.

In the next months, the country teams can expect reunion in smaller groups in clustered sessions for more detailed support and discussions about the specific issues each country is facing in their own use case.

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