A programme to combat land degradation to help create jobs and boost food security.


Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Panos

UN launches campaign to tackle land degradation


by Stephanie Achieng’

Speed read

  • Land degradation costs Africa about US$ 65 billion annually
  • The UNCCD has launched a campaign to fight land degradation and create jobs
  • An expert calls for African governments to reward those who conserve land

This year’s UN World Day to Combat Desertification will be celebrated on 17 June and the UN has launched a programme to combat land degradation to help create jobs and boost food security.

Africa has some of the most degraded lands in the world, and is only second to Asia in land degradation globally, experts say.

“Our land. Our home. Our Future,” is the slogan of this year’s UN World Day to Combat Desertification, according to a statement from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) released last month (9 February).

Monique Barbut, UN top advisor on combatting desertification and drought, says land is a timeless tool for creating wealth, but explains that there is no silver bullet to fixing land degradation everywhere.

“Investment in restoration of degraded lands is critical in enhancing household food and income security.”

Oliver Wasonga, University of Nairobi

“The solution depends a lot on a diagnosis of the local soil and climatic conditions, which can vary a lot even within short distances,” Barbut tells SciDev.Net.

Barbut notes in the statement: “This year, let us engage in a campaign to re-invest in rural lands and unleash their massive job-creating potential, from Burkina Faso, which will host the global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification, Chile and China, to Italy, Mexico, St Lucia and Ukraine.”

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

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