Desertification, poverty and global stability

 

 

Strengthening the Partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification: Combating desertification toward the eradication of poverty and global stability

On February 8, Monique Barbut, the United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) [1], and Noriko Suzuki, Senior Vice President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) met at JICA Headquarters in Tokyo and made a joint announcement that they would accelerate efforts to eradicate poverty in Africa and achieve global stability through the “African Initiative for Combating Desertification to Strengthen Resilience Climate Change in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa” [2].

JICA and the UNCCD Secretariat will work together to build a network in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa [3], promote the sharing of good practices and lessons learned in combating desertification, and facilitate support to countries in the regions for obtaining development funding to use for measures against desertification.

The countries in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa face many development challenges, including poverty, civil war, conflict, refugees, starvation due to drought and HIV/AIDS.

When areas with growing poverty are hit by desertification, the poverty is exacerbated further due to factors such as agricultural productivity that falls from bad to worse. Climate change in recent years is said to have made desertification worse. Poverty is a root cause of terrorism, violent radicalism and growing refugeeism, and combating desertification through efforts such as forest recovery and preventing soil degradation, is, along with fighting poverty in the regions through improved agricultural productivity, a priority for global stabilization and is one of the Sustainable Development Goals [4]. Nevertheless, desertification is not always of high concern for the international community and so the regions do not receive adequate support.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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