World Day to Combat Desertification

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United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June 

Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are
destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.(See PRESS RELEASE below).


Willem Van Cotthem: We keep hoping that success stories and best practices will be applied at the global level. Priority should be given to methods and techniques providing daily fresh food to the hungry and malnourished. It cannot be denied that hunger and malnutrition are constantly undermining the performances of people. Application of existing success stories in local food production (kitchen gardens, school gardens, hospital gardens, …) would positively influence the efforts to combat desertification (limiting erosion, stimulating reforestation, etc.). We keep hoping.

ReplyUnited Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Hi Willem Van Cotthem, would you like to share some success stories you have? We always welcome all to share!”

       ReplyWillem Van Cotthem : Hello Friends at the UNCCD Secretariat: It will be my pleasure to select a series of success stories in the literature. However, I am convinced that the UNCCD secretariat has the necessary documentation to compile even a book on this subject (to the best of my knowledge the documents, e.g. presentations at COPs and meetings of CST and CRIC, have been there during my active period in the CST and in Bonn). Please consider a consultancy to achieve top class work that would serve all member countries, the CST and the CRIC. To be presented at the next World Day June 17th 2016.

UNCCD’s Monique Barbut Calls for Long‐Term Solutions Not Just Quick Fixes To Drought Bonn, Germany, 22/02/2016 –
“Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. This is the slogan for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June. I am calling for solidarity from the international community with the people who are battling the ravages of drought and flood. Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The droughts and floods beating down on communities in many parts of the world are linked to the current El Niño, which is expected to affect up 60 million people by July. In some areas, including in North Eastern Brazil, Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia, the El Niño effects are coming on the back of years of severe and recurrent droughts. It is impossible for households that rely on the land for food and farm labor to recover, especially when the land is degraded.
What’s more, these conditions do not just devastate families and destabilize communities. When they are not attended to urgently, they can become a push factor for migration, and end with gross human rights abuses and long‐term security threats.
“We have seen this before – in Darfur following four decades of droughts and desertification and, more recently, in Syria, following the long drought of 2007‐2010. It is tragic to see a society breaking down when we can reduce the vulnerability of communities through simple and affordable acts such as restoring the degraded lands they live on, and helping countries to set up better systems for drought early warning and to prepare for and manage drought and floods,” Barbut said.
Ms Barbut made the remarks when announcing the plans for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification, which will take place on 17 June.
“I hope that World Day to Combat Desertification this year marks a turning point for every country. We need to show, through practical action and cooperation, how every country is tacking or supporting these challenges at the front‐end to preempt or minimize the potential impacts of the disasters, not just at the back‐end after the disasters happen,” she stated.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 17 June as the observance Day to raise public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought.
Ms Barbut thanked the Government and People of China, for offering to host the global observance event, which will take place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“China has vast experience in nursing degraded lands and man‐made deserts back to health. This knowledge can and should benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall, the re‐ greening in southern Africa and the 20 X 20 Initiative in Latin America. We can create a better, more equal and climate change‐resilient world,” she noted.
“I also call on countries, the private sector, foundations and people of goodwill to support Africa  when the countries meet later in the year to develop concrete plans and policies to pre‐ empt, monitor and manage droughts,” Ms Barbut stated.
The 2016 World Day campaign is also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September last year. The Goals include a target to achieve a land degradation‐neutral world by 2030. That is, a world where the land restored back to health equals to, or is more than, the amount degraded every year.
For more information on the Day and previous events, visit:‐and‐campaigns/WDCD/Pages/default.aspx
For background information and materials for the 2016 Observance, visit: For information about the Global Observance event, visit:‐and‐ campaigns/WDCD/wdcd2016/Pages/default.aspx
Contact for World Day to Combat Desertification:
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Policymakers and other value chain stakeholders

Photo credit: ILRI

Women pounding grain for the evening meal in Khulungira Village, in central Malawi (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann)

Hard numbers and soft stories: Reaching policymakers and empowering women in Africa’s agrifood value chains


By Jo Cadilhon

The fifteen research centres collaborating in the global CGIAR partnership have all embraced gender as a cross-cutting theme for research. Understanding the differentiated social roles of men and women, and the challenges men and women face in accessing resources is key in reducing rural poverty, improving food security, nutrition and health, and sustainably managing natural resources. However, to achieve more gender-equitable goals, our development partners also need to be aware of how undertaking gender-sensitive actions could lead to a more equitable society.

Policymakers are key partners in this process as they can orient government programs and donor projects towards more gender-equitable objectives. Yet, how can we make sure that policymakers become interested gender-equity and recognize its importance?

Established in 2006 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) supports efforts to promote evidence and outcome-based policy planning and implementation as part of the CAADP agenda.

In East and Central Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are implementing ReSAKSS activities. These include regular training workshops targeted on statisticians and economists in the statistics departments of African governments in order to help them better collect and analyse official statistical data and make robust interpretations from them to informing policymakers and other value chain stakeholders.

Read the full article

Challenges for ending global hunger


Hungry for answers

by Peter Shelton

Experts outline challenges for ending global hunger during recent policy seminar

Source: David Popham/IFPRI Pictured (lef-right): Rick Leach, Shenggen Fan, and Elizabeth Buckingham -
Source: David Popham/IFPRI Pictured (lef-right): Rick Leach, Shenggen Fan, and Elizabeth Buckingham –

Ending global hunger and malnutrition is a monumental task. Yet it’s not an impossible one to realize, even in the next 10 to 20 years, provided that the international community builds on previous successes and follows through on forward-looking global commitments to achieve sustainable development.

Two flagship reports highlighted at a recent policy seminar at IFPRI offer strategies to reach this goal: the 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI), co-published by IFPRI, and The Roadmap to End Global Hunger 2015 Policy Brief, launched by a coalition of 33 humanitarian organizations and advocacy groups.

The authors of the 2014 Global Hunger Index estimate that 805 million people worldwide suffer from hunger while an even larger number—2 billion—suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. Yet these numbers would be greater still if not for ongoing efforts aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition, by USAID’s Feed the Future program, 1,000 Days, and theScaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative, to name a few.

Read the full article: IFPRI

How can farmers manage drought risk ?

Demand for complementary financial and technological tools for managing drought risk

by Ward Patrick S., Spielman David J., Ortega David L., Kumar Neha, Minocha Sumedha
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Weather-related production risks remain one of the most serious constraints to agricultural production in much of the developing world. Financial and technological innovations that mitigate these risks have the potential to greatly benefit farmers in areas prone to such risks.
In this study we examine farmers’ preferences for two distinct tools that allow them to manage drought risk: weather index insurance and a recently released drought-tolerant rice variety. We illustrate how these tools can independently address drought risk and demonstrate the potential for these tools to be combined in a complementary risk management product.
Using a discrete choice experiment, we assess farmers’ preferences for these two tools independently and in a bundled package. Findings indicate that farmers are generally unwilling to pay for drought-tolerant rice independent of insurance, largely due to the yield penalty under normal conditions. When bundled with insurance, however, farmers’ valuation of the rice increases. Farmers value insurance on its own, but even more so when bundled with the drought-tolerant rice variety.
The results provide evidence that farmers value the complementarities inherent in a well-calibrated bundle of risk management tools.
See the text: IFPRI

Hunger and malnutrition are not problems exclusive to low income countries


The persistent hunger problem in middle income countries

Highlights from the 2014-2015 Global Food Policy Report

Reliable water and nutrition security

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Irrigation in Senegal

How can reliable water access contribute to nutrition security in Africa south of the Sahara?

IFPRI research on water for sustainable development

New technologies for Africa

Photo credit: Google

This is the first time we have laid out a very clear action plan on what needs to accelerate the pace of the Green Revolution in terms of technologies

Africa: To Bring Green Revolution to Africa, Countries Must Develop New Technologies


The blind adoption of solutions from other continents won’t work for Africa

African countries cannot blindly adopt food policy initiatives that spurred the Green Revolution in Asia as a way to promote agricultural development, according to new award-winning findings by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Professor Carol B.Thompson, Political Economy, Northern Arizona University, USA The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations propose to increase food production on the African continent, “eliminating hunger for 30-40 million people and sustainably moving -
Professor Carol B.Thompson, Political Economy, Northern Arizona University, USA The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations propose to increase food production on the African continent, “eliminating hunger for 30-40 million people and sustainably moving –

The research, which focused on Ghana and was originally published in the journal Food Policy, suggests that Africa must instead develop new technologies to improve the output of tree and root crops that are abundant in the region and to reduce the need for manual labor.

During the Green Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, Asian and Latin American countries experienced a dramatic increase in the production of wheat and other staples by using new varieties and relying more heavily on fertilizer and irrigation. African countries have sought to mimic their success, but the adoption of similar policies failed to increase agricultural output.

“Assuming Africa is an appropriate setting for another Asian-style Green Revolution is misleading and could result in, yet again, a frustrated attempt to attain sustainable agricultural growth,” said IFPRI Senior Research Fellow Alejandro Nin-Pratt, lead author of the study.

Read the full article: allAfrica


Increased Action to Fight Hunger (IISD)

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IFPRI Global Food Policy Report Urges Increased Action to Fight Hunger

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released the 2012 Global Food Policy Report, which projects that the international community will fall short of meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015.

The report presents concrete steps regarding investment in agricultural research, the generation of green economy and sustainable development commitments, the development of policies and projects to encourage gender equity, and policy reform in developed countries to reduce negative impacts on farmers in developing countries. The report reviews food policy trends and developments related to: agricultural productivity; a food-secure green economy; women in agriculture; employment in agriculture; US and European Union (EU) farm policies; and regional policy choices.

With respect to the green economy, IFPRI notes a lack of specifics and commitments emerging from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The report describes the concept of bioeconomy, which relies on the use of renewable bio-based resources to produce food, health, industrial products and energy. It looks at “triple-win” situations related to agriculture, nutrition and health, and environmental sustainability, noting a series of forthcoming integrated meetings and policy discussions on the topics. The report also notes a series of entry points on agriculture and food security in the post-2015 development process.


The economics of desertification, land degradation, and drought (IFPRI)

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Toward an integrated global assessment

Attention to land degradation and environmental pollution has increased significantly in the past 25 years, largely due to greater levels of international cooperation and recognition that local changes in land resources have global impacts. As the world’s focus on climate change increases, so, too, does the attention being paid to drought and its rise in frequency and severity. Despite this heightened global awareness, action to prevent or mitigate land degradation and drought at national or international levels has been limited, primarily because there are limited assessments regarding the cost of land degradation. Past global assessments have largely focused on the biophysical impacts of land degradation while little has been done to assess its global economic costs or the costs-versus-benefits of preventing or mitigating it. Additionally, past studies have largely focused on loss of on-site productivity and have paid limited attention to the off-site costs of land degradation and off-site benefits of land improvement. As part of the effort to address these and other gaps, this study was undertaken to prepare a framework for global assessment of the economics of desertification, land degradation, and drought (E-DLDD).

A review of literature on global evaluations of land degradation shows a significant development in methods and approaches to mitigate it. Earlier evaluations based their assessments on expert opinion and concentrated on only a few types of land degradation—namely soil erosion and deforestation. Recent studies have expanded the types of land degradation assessed to include other major indicators of terrestrial ecosystem services—made possible, in part, by rapid technological development. Specifically, satellite imagery has been used to assess vegetation land cover using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which is a measure of plant growth vigor, vegetation cover, and biomass. The time series NDVI data are appealing because they are readily available, however, there has been criticism on use of NDVI as an indicator of land degradation or improvement.


A set of development priorities for agriculture (Agricultural Biodiversity / VSLP / CGIAR)

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Yield gaps and potential agricultural growth in West and Central Africa: an IFPRI report

Posted by Diego Valbuena

The authors identify a set of development priorities for agriculture that cut across West and Central Africa at both the country and regional levels to achieve economywide growth goals in the region. To do this we adopt a modeling and analytical framework that involves the integration of spatial analysis to identify yield gaps determining the growth potential of different agricultural activities for areas with similar conditions and an economywide multimarket model to simulate ex ante the economic effects of closing these yield gaps. Results indicate that the greatest agriculture-led growth opportunities in West Africa reside in staple crops (cereals and roots and tubers) and livestock production. Contributing the most to agricultural growth in the Sahel are livestock, rice, coarse grains, and oilseeds (groundnuts); in Coastal countries, staple crops such as cassava, yams, and cereal seems to be relatively more important than other subsectors; and in Central Africa livestock and root crops are the sources of growth with highest potential.


Food security, farming, and climate change to 2050 (IFPRI)

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Scenarios, results, policy options

As the global population grows and incomes in poor countries rise, so too, will the demand for food, placing additional pressure on sustainable food production. Climate change adds a further challenge, as changes in temperature and precipitation threaten agricultural productivity and the capacity to feed the world’s population. This study assesses how serious the danger to food security might be and suggests some steps policymakers can take to remedy the situation.

Using various modeling techniques, the authors project 15 different future scenarios for food security through 2050.


The critical links between agriculture, poor nutrition, food insecurity and susceptibility to HIV exposure and infection (New Agriculturist)

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HIV/AIDS, agriculture and hunger critically linked

The critical links between agriculture, poor nutrition, food insecurity and susceptibility to HIV exposure and infection have been a key part of discussions at a conference in South Africa organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Regional Network on AIDS, Livelihoods and Food Security (RENEWAL). “This dangerous cycle is not only affected by chronic problems, such as the negative effects of climate change, but it is also aggravated by acute crises,” says Stuart Gillespie, IFPRI senior research fellow and RENEWAL director. “During times of economic hardship – whether brought on by high food prices, rising energy costs, or financial recession – people affected by the AIDS epidemic are among the most vulnerable.” Continue reading “The critical links between agriculture, poor nutrition, food insecurity and susceptibility to HIV exposure and infection (New Agriculturist)”

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