World Day to Combat Desertification

Photo credit: Google – Imgres.jpg


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:
For Media information:

How to give government an understanding of the land management issues

Photo credit: ABC North and West SA

Janet Brook believes it is time for greater recognition of women in agriculture. (ABC)

Outback women leading way for arid land management

By Michael Dulaney

Janet Brook has watched the slow progress on issues facing women in the outback – from feral animals to gender politics and the tyranny of distance.

She lives with her husband, Anthony, and their four children on Cordillo Downs, an 8000 square kilometre cattle station in the far north east of South Australia.

For the past six years, Janet has been the presiding board member of SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management (NRM), a group that works to balance the needs of the environment and those of people living in remote areas.

She joined other women working in land management throughout rural SA at the Arid Lands Women’s Retreat in Marree last month to chew over the issues facing pastoral businesses.

Janet told ABC North and West’s Sarah Tomlinson networking events like the retreat are helping to shift the traditional view of agriculture from being male-dominated.

“I think we need to change that stereotyped image of men in agriculture, it’s definitely not the case,” she said.

“Maybe men in the past have been more visible and maybe the ladies have taken the behind the scenes type roles but I think that’s changing more and more as time goes on.

“Women are getting more opportunities to take part and maybe technology has helped that too.”

While the view of gender roles in agriculture is slowly shifting, Janet said the challenges facing natural resource managers have remained largely the same for many years.

Read the full article: ABC North and West SA


Land degradation and food production

Photo credit: The World Bank

To fight desertification, let’s manage our land better


Every year, we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil to erosion and 12 million hectares of land to desertification and drought.  This threatens the lives and livelihoods of 1.5 billion people now.

In the future, desertification could displace up to 135 million people by 2045. Land degradation could also reduce global food production by up to 12% and push world food prices up by 30%. In Egypt, Ghana, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Paraguay, land degradation could cause an annual GDP loss of up to 7%.

Pressure on land resources is expected to increase as populations grow, socio-economic development happens and the climate changes. A growing population will demand more food, which means that unsuitable or especially biodiverse land will be claimed for farming and be more vulnerable to degradation. Increased fertilizer and pesticide use related to agriculture will increase nutrient loading in soils, causing eutrophication and declines in fertility over time. Climate change will also aggravate land degradation—especially in drylands, which occupy 40% of global land area, and are inhabited by some 2 billion people. Urban areas, which are located in the world’s highly fertile areas, could grow to account for more than 5% of global land by mid-century.

Unless we manage our land better, every person will rely on just .11 hectares of land for their food; down from .45 hectares in 1960.

So how do we manage land better?

It will all come down to what we do with our soil, which is the most significant natural capital for ensuring food, water, and energy security while adapting and building resilience to climate change and shocks. The soil’s nutrient cycling provides the largest contribution (51%) of the total value (USD33 trillion) of all ‘ecosystem services’ provided each year. But soil’s important function is often forgotten as the missing link in our pursuit of sustainable development.

We must invest in applicable solutions that are transformative, and can be scaled up. Climate-smart agriculture is an alternative approach to managing land sustainably whilst increasing agricultural productivity. It includes land management options that sequester carbon and enhance resilience to climate change. Proven climate-smart practices such as agroforestry, integrated soil fertility management, conservation agriculture, and improved irrigation can ensure that land is used optimally, restored and managed in a manner that maximizes ecological, economic and social benefits.

Read the full article: The World Bank

To combat desertification through the establishment and management of vegetation

Photo credit: Google

Funded training on Restoration in Mediterranean Drylands


COST ES1104 training school on

‘Restoration in Mediterranean Drylands’

The University of Lisbon and the Autonomous University of Madrid will be co-hosting a training school on ‘Restoration in Mediterranean Drylands’, 13-21 May 2015.

Mediterranean drylands -
Mediterranean drylands –

This Iberian Training School will focus on drylands ecological restoration and agricultural land management in order to combat desertification through the establishment and management of vegetation. We will provide the students with the scientific basis and practical guidance in field classes for sustainable land use, and we will create and strengthen links between them and established experts. In addition to classroom lectures, there will be practical classes and field trips to apply relevant methodologies for successful revegetation and soil conservation.

COST Action ES1104 is offering 18 funded places on the training school on a competitive basis. Successful applicants will be offered a maximum grant of €1500 as a contribution towards the costs of travel, accommodation and meals. The exact award offered will depend on the cost of travel as this differs considerably across eligible countries. Please note that the grant will be paid by bank-to-bank transfer after the course has been completed.

The closing date for applications is 17 April 2015.

For further details see the Desert Restoration Hub website

Dr Sarah Milliken

Department of Architecture and Landscape | The University of Greenwich | Park Row | London SE10 9LS



Dr Sarah Milliken

Department of Architecture and Landscape | The University of Greenwich | Park Row | London SE10 9LS

CRIC 13 and Sustainable Land Management


UNCCD CRIC 13 Addresses Sustainable Land Management Linkages in Post-2015, Climate Agendas

Delegates to the 13th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 13) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) made a critical assessment of the status of the Convention and exchanged views on how to ensure its continued relevance and effectiveness. Pointing to the continuing “implementation gap” despite the high number of submitted country reports, several delegates questioned whether “we are collecting the right information to spur further action,” and suggested that a focus on synergies with the other Rio Conventions and adopting a global target on land degradation neutrality (LDN) could enhance the Convention’s impact.

Sharing her assessment of the reporting and review exercise, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut highlighted shortcomings that require attention, with particular regard to measuring progress toward achieving sustainable land management (SLM) goals at national and global levels. She suggested that national reporting should focus on information that leads to a better understanding of land degradation and should “convince donors to increase financing by demonstrating the importance of land management, in particular for climate change mitigation and adaptation.” Highlighting ongoing efforts to develop common indicators among the three Rio Conventions, Barbut noted that LDN could become “a tangible national objective,” if adopted as part of a global post-2015 agreement.

Among ‘process’ actions to enhance the Convention’s relevance, Executive Secretary Barbut proposed: a longer reporting cycle of four years in order to focus on measuring impacts and results and enhance alignment with the GEF; holding back-to-back sessions of the CST and CRIC alongside major international events such as the Global Soil Week; strengthening regional implementation and governance, including by holding annual regional conferences; and strengthening the CRIC Bureau.

Read the full article: IISD



Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices

Photo credit: CIAT

Erosion impact after January 2015 flooding in Ntcheu, Malawi. Photo: J. Braslow/CIAT 

Land management matters: Malawian communities create maps to find answers


The future course of land degradation and sustainable land management


Global Land Outlook Discussed on Sidelines of UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference

The ‘Global Land Outlook’ (GLO), to be produced every four years, will be a flagship publication seeking to provide “a strong, politically relevant, but analytical base for determining the future course of land degradation and sustainable land management across the globe,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut at an event discussing the anticipated publication. The event was held at the margins of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 3rd Scientific Conference.

Barbut’s opening remarks highlighted key features of the proposed report. Describing it as a cross between the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and the Human Development Index, Barbut said the report will target a broad audience, not only scientists and policy makers, and will include land indices to compare land management systems across countries and their impact on socio-economic development. She said initial funding for the initiative has been provided by the European Commission and the Government of Switzerland.

Read the full text: IISD



Climate Smart Agriculture in Kenya – techniques to benefit small-holder farmers

Photo credit: Google

The Powerful Potential of SoilIQ for Kenyan Farmers

Initiative Designed to Help Kenyan Farmers Cope With Climate Change

PR Newswire (New York)

New Initiative designed to help farmers cope with Climate Change in Kenya

Agricultural officers call for adoption of efficient farming methods in Kenya -
Agricultural officers call for adoption of efficient farming methods in Kenya –

The UKaid funded Finance Innovation for Climate Change has designed an initiative in Kenya that will help farmers cope with the impact of climate change. The initiative known as the Climate Smart Agriculture will provide loans to farmers, which will go into increasing production efficiency through soil testing analysis and soil fertility management, crop protection services such as weeding, pest/disease control, farm produce harvesting, among other techniques that will benefit small-holder farmers.

Read the full article: allAfrica


The Sertão Project for protection of the caatinga biome

Photo credit: Rural Poverty Portal

Sustainable Development Project for Agrarian Reform Settlements in the Semi-Arid North-East – November 2007 ©Ubirajara Machado/MDA/IFAD

Protecting the environment through sustainable production

The Sustainable Land Management in the Semi-Arid Sertão Project was designed as a complement to the IFAD-financed Dom Helder Câmara Project (DHCP), which ran from 1998 to 2007 in various areas of the semi-arid northeastern Brazil. The Sertão Project aimed to address pressing environmental and land degradation issues, and to build resilience to climate change. The project focused on the caatinga — a uniquely Brazilian scrub forest covering approximately 10 per cent of the total area of the country. The caatinga is one of Brazil’s most threatened natural landscapes.

In semi-arid northeastern Brazil, the main causes of land degradation are overgrazing and using of inappropriate agricultural practices such as burning. All that has led to the elevation of the water table and the salinization due to excessive irrigation, the salinization produced by irrigation and the deforestation for crops and livestock-raising. As a result, the caatinga biome’s rapid degradation prevented it from providing natural protection for its unique biodiversity.

The overall goal of the Sertão Project was therefore to minimize the causes and negative impacts of land degradation and to protect the integrity of the caatinga biome, through the implementation of sustainable land use systems.

Results and achievements

Read the full article: Rural Poverty Portal

Watershed Management in Ethiopia

Photo credit: Google

Mt. Damota in Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Watershed Management Contribute for Sustainable, Effective Agricultural Yields

Some years ago, due to erosion, Damota Mountain surrounding dwellers used to be advised to leave their farms and move to other places at the expense of farming activities they carried out. Wolayta farmers recently visited watershed works in the environs of Damota Mountain. Currently, the mountain looks beautiful green land and completely opened and known for various activities which potentially assists a great variety of economic activities.

Wolayta Zone Administrator Eyob Wate said that the watershed management activities carried out in the zone could enable local farmers to move back to their farmlands. This could be due to the rational and socially acceptable utilization of all the natural resources for optimum production to fulfill the present need.

Local farmers and the wider community who depend on the land were engaged in the planning process in the move to rehabilitate the degraded land, he said.

Eyob also said that participatory watershed management in the State assists to generate greater cohesion within the society and enable the newly settled farmers to benefit from various assets created and eventually to overcome their food insecurity. More than 11,132 hectares of land in all weredas were identified for youths and the utilization of improved farming methods are now being undertaken for improved agricultural production, he added.

Read the full article: allAfrica

Drylands Dialogue and Social Diversity

Photo credit: DAPA.CIAT

Drylands Dialogue; Second Meeting in Nairobi Jan 20-21, 2015

Action Plan for Drylands Dialogue and Social Diversity

by Purabi Bose

The second gathering of the Drylands Dialogue meeting achieved the objective to identify priorities for research and development action plan.

On January 20-21, the second Drylands Dialogue was organized by the African Studies Center (ASC), the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry- Gender (CRP FTA), and AEGIS. The two-day meeting on drylands agriculture-forests-agroforestry-commons nexus gathered some 25 multidisciplinary experts including Dr. Dennis Garrity, Drylands Ambassador, UNCCD; Caroline King-Okumu, IIED; Esther Mwangi, CIFOR; Tobias  Haller, University of Bern; and hosted by Han van Dijk, ASC. The first Drylands Dialogue was held in Leiden, Netherlands on June 17, 2014.

Thematically the two-day meeting was divided in a knowledge part (day I) and a policy-action part (day II). The key objective of the meeting was to build a research-development action plan, building on the results of the first meeting. The research part was devoted to (1) the climate-food security; (2) the education-economic development; and (3) the conflict-land tenure and natural-resource management.

Read the full article: CIAT


Science and practical guidance for dryland restoration and combat of desertification

Photo credit: Desert Restoration Hub

Overgrazing, as seen in Botswana, can also leave the soil exposed and easily eroded, and is therefore an indicator of land degradation. Compare the vegetation on the grazed and ungrazed sides of the fence (picture M.Reed)

A Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub


There is great need to restore existing despoiled drylands and to combat increasing desertification. Restoring habitats improves biodiversity, increases carbon sequestration, enhancing the quality of life for people. An essential measure is the planting of and reestablishment of vegetation. The successful establishment of vegetation in arid areas is complex requiring the multi-disciplinary skills of arid land experts with various capabilities, in soils, hydrology, ecology, agronomy, land management etc. However, vegetation restoration techniques in arid areas require review and development. Information on restoration is highly dispersed and often difficult to obtain.

The creation of the ‘Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub’ is thus aimed to bring together the expertise, knowledge and information on vegetation establishment and management that exists in the EU and around the world.  The drylands and desert restoration hub provides a focus for information for all stakeholders.

The Action is devised to provide the science and practical guidance for dryland restoration and combat of desertification through coordinated data-collection with an integrated database within a harmonized information hub of current and new methods and techniques of restoration, trials and field studies, assessment indicators, academic and practical publications, and tools to identify and support practical restoration projects and decision makers in planning and restoring drylands and the combat of desertification. The Action promotes open knowledge, innovation in procedures and methods for improved restoration in dry lands.


Read the full article: Desert Restoration Hub

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