Local Projects to Mitigate the Effects of Desertification

Created on Tuesday, 18 June 2019
by Sharif Al -Khatib

DAMASCUS – The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on 17 June to spread awareness among people about the cooperation required to combat desertification and the effects of drought. No doubt that desertification and drought are main problems seen globally and affect all regions of the world.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a unique event that remind people in the world that land degradation neutrality can be achieved when there will be cooperation at all levels, strong involvement of the community and problem-solving. This day also celebrates the progress made by the countries on sustainable land management and what should be done in the world so that land degradation neutrality will provide a solid basis for poverty reduction, food, water security, climate change, mitigation and adaptation.

Syria joined to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) since 1994, the Directorate of Biodiversity, Land and Protected Areas of the Ministry of Local Administration and Environment, in cooperation with several agencies, is following up the implementation of the National Plan to Combat Desertification.

The Directorate is currently carrying out two projects in this area, namely the application of national indicators of land degradation and desertification in land degradation assessment and the preparation of strategies to address the problems of land degradation and desertification resulting from the terrorist war on Syria using land degradation indicators in cooperation with ACSAD, according to the Director of Biological Diversity at the Ministry Eng. Bilal Al-Hayek.




Introducing new farming practices in Keita, Niger, is helping to reclaim land so the community can improve their livelihoods.

Jun 18 2019

Action Against Hunger-UK | Home

By Action Against Hunger

Almost every year, over 40% of households in Keita, Niger, suffer from food insecurity. Farming and livestock rearing are the main sources of income, but poor harvests due to a lack of rain, rapid population growth and increased prices at the market have led to widespread hunger.

Many locals believe that the low annual average rainfall is the main cause of desertification. However, even if the rain is concentrated over a period of two-three months, an average annual rainfall of 300-350 millimetres could keep the grass green and land fertile throughout the year.

While climate change has had an impact, there’s another reason why desertification is taking place in Keita and the wider Sahel region – farming and livestock rearing practices.   

Most farmers in this area of Niger produce either millet or sorghum, which are both kinds of cereals.  Cultivating these crops year after year affects soil fertility, leading to a gradual decrease in yields.

The locals’ livestock management also had an effect on the quality of the soil. Due to the lack of foliage, cattle permanently grazes every square metre of the community. This prevents the grass from resting and recovering, which causes soil erosion.

Eroded soil struggles to maintain water, resulting in poor productivity and meaning that families are no longer able to keep big herds of cattle.

“It’s like a paradigm shift, because livestock rearing along with the single-crop farming of cereals are related to soil degradation,” says Joaquin Cadario, Action Against Hunger’s programme coordinator.

“The soil compacts and when the next rains arrive, the water doesn’t penetrate the ground.  It’s a vicious cycle.”


In the fight against desertification, there’s a natural fertiliser that’s readily available to people in Keita – the manure produced by their cattle.

Working with the local community, Action Against Hunger and our partners AleJAB created a plot for cattle to stay in and help fertilise the land. The cattle was confined to this area and after a week the plot was sealed off to allow the ground time to rest and recover. This process was then repeated over a period of a couple of months.


Water firms launch tree planting drive to restore Mau forest


Nakuru Rural Water and Sanitation Services partners with Water Service Providers Association and Ukulima Sacco

A Nakuru water company has launched a tree planting campaign to conserve the Mau Forest. 

Mau forest has dwindled to a paltry 40 per cent. This has been blamed on logging and human settlement. Neighbouring also invade to get timber, poles and firewood. 

Nakuru Rural Water and Sanitation Services (Naruwasco) has, therefore, partnered with Water Service Providers Association (Waspa) — a body that represents all public water service providers in the country — and Ukulima Sacco, among other agencies, to turn the situation around. 

On Monday, they planted more than 6,000 seedlings in Mau East and Oinoptich Primary School in Molo subcounty where the drive was launched. They will also educate residents on the significance of trees. 

“The campaign seeks to encourage Mau East residents to plant more trees in a bid to conserve the environment and the larger Mau Forest,” Naruwasco MD Reuben  Korir said, adding that they will have an annual tree planting exercise.  

Waspa chairman Daniel  Ng’ang’a said it is every person’s responsibility to plant trees and conserve the environment. 

“We have a moral obligation to conserve the forest and environment for the next generation. Let’s all work to achieve more than 10 per cent required forest cover,” he said.

Combating Drought & Climate Change in Ethiopia

ReliefWeb Home – REPORT from Trócaire – Published on 17 June 2019


By Seán Farrell

On World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, Trócaire’s Seán Farrell reports about his visit to a life-changing water project in Ethiopia, and the need for Climate Justice.

Where there is water there is life is an ancient saying. In fact, historically many of the world’s earliest settlements were based alongside water sources and rivers. Some of the earliest evidence of human settlement was in Ethiopia, the country known as the ‘cradle of civilisation’.

In Ethiopia today however is facing many challenges. Climate Change is challenging the very fabric of many societies and clean water is becoming increasingly absent for so many people around the world. According to the WHO, three in ten people in the world lack access to safe water at home. Six in ten lack safely managed sanitation.

People in developing countries suffer the most. Inadequate water supply leads to food shortage, potentially famine, ecological decline and conflict over resources.


I travelled to Northern Ethiopia to visit a community in Adigrat. Here I saw a small reservoir, which had pipes running for 5km bringing water and life to green crops. It moved me to see this simple reservoir providing support to hundreds of families.

Trócaire, with the support of DFID UKAID Match funding, is working with poor communities like Adigrat across Northern Ethiopia. In places where harvests are regularly destroyed by increasing droughts and lack of rainfall, this DFID programme is helping communities to respond.

Communities are now conserving soil, harvesting animal fodder and finding new ways to farm. They are becoming more resilient to the droughts that are increasing in intensity and frequency.

I walked to a river dam where water is trapped and then used to grow a vast array of crops. I saw the work that rural communities had done in building terraces on the sides of mountains that trap water and assist food to grow even in times of drought. This work is overwhelming and is making a real difference to so many lives.


But we must also reflect on our own lifestyles. The families I met in Northern Ethiopia have contributed almost nothing to the footprint of climate change. But they are paying the highest price. This is one of the great moral questions of our time. We must act now in our own lives, and we must demand political action to halt climate change.


FAO Calls to Prevent Drought from Resulting in Famine


Rome, June 17 (Prensa Latina) Preventing the lack of water from resulting in famine was the demand today at the opening of the 2nd International Seminar on Drought and Agriculture of FAO, held on occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also called for the cooperation of all governments and, in particular, the private sector to help the most intelligent techniques and elementary practices reach the farmer in favor of preventing, better preparing and planning the confrontation with these phenomena that compromise human existence.

Director General of FAO, José Graziano Da Silva, when speaking at the event stressed that avoiding droughts is impossible, but we can avoid that it turns into famines or displace people and cause disorderly migration.

He recalled that one of the main causes of the increase in the number of hungry people in the last three years is attributed to the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, with very serious droughts along the entire east coast of Africa, something that is repeated every year.

He pointed out the importance of FAO in this field and the opportunity of the seminar to present many new technologies, including the use of images by satellites and others that serve to prevent such natural disasters.

In a particular way, he mentioned a very simple technology, applied in his country, Brazil, when he served as minister during the government of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2011), as the ‘One million Cisternas’ (water reservoir) program, a simple tool for storing rainwater under the house itself.


FAO: Technology can help prevent drought problems

Unlocking the potential of agricultural innovations, be it simple solutions or satellite-based technologies, will help prevent a drought from turning into famine and forced displacement and reverse desertification.

The FAO and the New Development Bank (NDB) have agreed to step up joint efforts to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, with a special focus on safeguarding water and soil resources as well as fighting against desertification. Photo: Shutterstock

This is according to FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. He spoke at the opening of the 2nd International Seminar on Drought and Agriculture at FAO headquarters in Rome on June 17, as part of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought celebrations. He stressed that more than 80% of all damage and loss caused by drought was absorbed by farmers and agricultural sector, noting that one of the main causes of increasing hunger in the last 3 years was El Niño provoking severe droughts on the East African coast. “Every year the world loses 24 billion tons of soils, and dryland degradation reduces national domestic product in developing countries by 8% annually,” the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a video message recorded for the World Day. “We must urgently change such trends. Protecting and restoring land – better use it – can reduce forced migration, improve food security and spur economic growth. It can also help us to address the global climate emergency.”

Simple solutions – great impact

The FAO Director-General emphasised that in order to cope with droughts and to reverse desertification, in addition to geospatial technologies, farmers can also benefit from very simple solutions. In this regard, he cited the 1 million cisterns project, ‘rainfall storage’ as a good example.

Desertification: The most critical environment issue in Northern Nigeria

Daily Trust
By Chidimma C. Okeke | Published Date Jun 19, 2019

The Dean, Faculty of Environmental Science Nasarawa State University Keffi, Professor Nasiru Medugu Idris, has said that despite attempts by government and the international community at checking desert encroachment through afforestation, desertification still remains the most pressing environmental problem in the dry land parts of the country.

Prof Idris, in a report tagged ‘The Role of Afforestation in Combating Desertification in Nigeria’to mark the World Desertification Day on Monday, June 17 said the visible sign of this phenomenon is the gradual shift in vegetation from grasses, bushes and occasional trees and in the final stages, expansive areas of desert-like sand.

“Nigeria loses over 350,000ha annually to advancing desert, the dunes are threatening life-supporting oasis, burying water points, and in some cases engulfing major roads in the affected areas,” he said.

The don noted that the trees planted by government as shelter belts to check the advancing dunes are withering due to lack of attention, saying, “despite huge efforts by governments in form of financial and material resources geared towards boosting afforestation programmes, very minimal success has been realized in sections of the few of the affected states.”

Read more: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/desertification-the-most-critical-environment-issue-in-northern-nigeria.html