Let’s Speak and Write More about Desertification


Veronika Gregušová

My name is Veronika and I come from the Czech Republic. I am a curious person and passionate to share my knowledge with those who are interested in it. I wish that my blog (https://pinklich.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/desertification/) serves you as a platform for getting new ideas. Worlds seems too gloomy from the newspapers headlines, but it does not necessarily mean that it is so. From my perspective, there are many excellent things we are not aware of. My blog is an attempt to let you DISCOVER, LEARN and HELP inspiring initiatives. You can browse through categories (Society, Education, Environment) or read one of the interviews. I care about creating a quality content, that is why I post a new article every two to three weeks. I will be happy to hear any feedback from you. You can contact me on my e-mail address – 382630@mail.muni.cz. Veronika


Why is it that the global community is so concerned about climate change, but desertification rarely gets any attention in the press and what is more puzzling, in the research community? As an International Relations student I was surprised by the lack of scientific debate about this issue among social scientists. That is why the aim of my Master’s thesis “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification: Challenges and Chances of a Troubled Regime” was to discover how desertification regime works, whether it is effective, and how it strives to make its functioning better.

The thesis provides the first comprehensive description of the desertification regime, while it also presents a list of the regime’s problems, and an explanation of the regime’s efforts to tackle these problems. Scholars have often referred to existence of a desertification regime, but they have not analyzed it by applying regime theory. I explain that the regime is denoted ineffective because until today it has not managed to reverse desertification, mitigate drought, and reduce poverty.

The UNCCD faces several problems including lack of funding, disagreements about financial responsibilities, and investment into unsustainable projects. Secondly, problems in science (small role of scientists in previous and current negotiations, malfunctioning of the Committee for Science and Technology and lack of scientific cooperation and data) lead to misunderstandings about significance of the desertification problem. A third problem lies in the design of the regime, namely in lack of consensus, low political will, and institutional weaknesses. Fourthly, there is a lack of advocacy about desertification and insufficient connections to other two Rio Conventions (UNFCCC and CBD).

The thesis also points out to UNCCD’s efforts of making the Convention more effective. I argue that the adoption of The Strategy for 2008-18 and the introduction of Land-Degradation Neutral World concept represent significant moves towards better implementation of the Convention, nonetheless, these projects have excessively ambitious goals.

To conclude, I believe the UNCCD is indispensable in our fight against desertification, but we have to make it more effective so that it reaches the affected populations and ecosystems. Desertification should also be taken seriously as a scientific topic even among social scientists.  If you feel interested in my thesis, please contact me through my blog and we can discuss some new ideas for research.

Veronika Gregušová holds an M.A. in International Relations from Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. She writes articles on her own blog Veronika & Global Ideas.

See also: https://pinklich.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/desertification/

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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