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:


Photo credit: WVC 1994-07 – Bois de la Fraternisation in Arbolle (Burkina Faso),

Belgian TC-Dialogue with Canadian Cooperation

Happy to remind me of an former publication in the CBD Magazine 2002

by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Belgium)


Arbolle 1988-07 at the start of the project (Photo credit - WVC)
Arbolle 1988-07 at the start of the project (Photo credit – WVC)


Click on the text to enlarge the size

Arbolle 1990-07 - Young wood developing thanks to soil conditioner TerraCottem
Arbolle 1990-07 – Young wood developing thanks to soil conditioner TerraCottem
Arbolle 1998-12 : Ten years after plantation with TerraCottem soil conditioner, the Bois de la Fraternisation (Wood of Fraternization) is a remarkable success. Reforestation at its best. (Photo credit WVC)
Arbolle 1998-12 : Ten years after plantation with TerraCottem soil conditioner, the Bois de la Fraternisation (Wood of Fraternization) is a remarkable success. Reforestation at its best.
(Photo credit WVC)

Securing every hectare of land and rehabilitate all the degraded land

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Walking through desert in Nigeria. Photo: World Bank

On Day to Combat Desertification, UN urges action to protect ‘every hectare’ of arable land

Land is a renewable resource, but only if investments are made in land degradation neutrality, which has been proposed as an element of the post-2015 development agenda, today said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

“We need to change course and start securing every hectare of land that can provide food or freshwater and rehabilitate all the degraded land that we can,” urged Mr. Ban, who assured that by doing so, the international community will be able to make rapid steps towards controlling climate change.

With No such thing as a free lunch: Investing in healthy soils as the theme, this year’s Day is intended to promote public awareness of the issues of desertification and drought, and the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

“Our lives and civilizations depend on the land. Let us invest in healthy soils to secure our rights to food and freshwater,” Mr. Ban added.

When a plate of food is served in front of you, what comes to mind? Few of us actually think about it, but it is the endpoint of a long and complex process…Without the land, there is only an empty plate,” underscored Monique Barbut, who is the UNCCD Executive Secretary.

Noting that 70 per cent of the Earth’s grasslands, 50 per cent of the savannahs and 45 per cent of its temperate forests have been cleared to feed generations gone by, she expressed her deep concern that resources are treated like disposable goods.

“We degrade the land through unsustainable farming and walk away when it cannot produce anymore. Today, one third of previously fertile farmland lies abandoned. With a population of 9.6 billion expected by 2050, we will need to clear 3 million hectares of new land every year, on average,” she explained, warning that “we are heading towards a tipping point.”

“If we do not change how we use our land, we will have to convert an area the size of Norway into new farmland every year to meet future needs for food, freshwater, biofuels and urban growth,” underscored Mr. Ban.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Nine of the 17 MDGs are based on science and technology

Photo credit: Google

United Nations Environment Programme collaboration in an innovative manner to make environmental science actionable for policy making and civil society

Zimbabwe: ‘Science and Technology Key to Sustainable Growth’

African countries should use science and technology to research on new sources of food, a senior Government official has said. Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Oppah Muchinguri told delegates to the recently ended two-day UNESCO Asia-Africa consultation on sustainability science to support the post-2015 agenda that science is crucial for poverty reduction, clean water and new energy forms to support the Sustainable Development Goals agenda. She added that there was need to turn the country’s knowledge base into practical solutions.

“We are very proud as a nation that the literacy rate is above 90 percent, but that knowledge should be converted to into practice, there is need for increasing scientific literacy, we need to develop a market-oriented curriculum through research of new technologies, African governments, scientists and communities therefore need to look ahead with foresight in order to plan and prepare adequately for emerging development challenges and opportunities,” said Minister Muchinguri.

She added that for sustainable development, policy makers, governments and scientists should join hands in harnessing science and technological innovations.

Read the full article: allAfrica

Ensuring environmental sustainability

 Read the article on WIN

Beyond the MDGs: Combating Desertification, Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss Post-2015

Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one focuses on ensuring environmental sustainability. There is some consensus that in the post-2015 development agenda environmental sustainability deserves greater prominence and higher visibility.

Jasmin Metzler, UNCCD Secretariat

Jasmin Metzler, Programme Officer for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), stressed this point in her comments. A discussion followed on the ways in which local civil society groups and organizations could be more actively engaged in shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat

David Ainsworth, Information Officer for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), gave an overview of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), while Suhel Al-Janabi, ABS Capacity Development Initiative, discussed Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT), suggesting these are two indicators of collaborative relationships between governments and external investors.

Eva Gurria, Programme Consultant of the Equator Initiative, provided an overview of “The World We Want” platform that linked local, national and regional communities with the goal of scaling up local action in order to strengthen the post-2015 development strategy (download presentation).

Fatima Ahmed, Zenab for Women in Development, Sudan

Fatima Ahmed, President of Zenab for Women in Development, an Equator Prize 2012 winner, concluded the session by giving an overview of CSO involvement in the Leadership Meeting on Environmental Sustainability in Costa Rica during 2012 that discussed the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and also reflected on her role moderating the online discussion on environmental sustainability.

Photos courtesy of IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin

Rio +20 and Beyond (Google / Natural Choices)

Read at : Google Alert- desertification


Reclaiming our future: Rio +20 and Beyond: La Vía Campesina Call to action 16.02.12

On 20-22 June 2012, governments from around the world will gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to commemorate 20 years of the “Earth Summit”, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that first established a global agenda for “sustainable development”. During the 1992 summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification, were all adopted. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was also established to ensure effective follow-up of the UNCED “Earth Summit.”

Twenty years later, governments should have reconvened to review their commitments and progress, but in reality the issue to debate will be the “green economy” led development, propagating the same capitalist model that caused climate chaos and other deep social and environmental crises.

La Vía Campesina will mobilize for this historical moment, representing the voice of the millions of peasants and indigenous globally who are defending the well-being of all by implementing food sovereignty and the protection of natural resources.

20 Years later: a planet in crisis

20 years after the Earth Summit, life has become more difficult for the majority of the planet’s inhabitants. The number of hungry people has increased to almost one billion, which means that one out of six human beings is going hungry, women and small farmers being the most affected. Meanwhile, the environment is depleting fast, biodiversity is being destroyed, water resources are getting scarce and contaminated and the climate is in crisis. This is jeopardizing our very future on Earth while poverty and inequalities are increasing.


Keeping GEF stakeholders abreast of developments relating to GEF strategies, policies and procedures (Google / Solomon Star)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Global environment workshop starts tomorrow

The Government of Solomon Islands through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology and in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) secretariat (Washington DC), is hosting the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW) in Honiara, Solomon Islands, from 27-29 September 2011.

The ECW will take place in Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel.

The GEF ECW will bring together GEF political and operational focal points, focal points from the main Conventions of Biodiversity, Desertification, Climate Change and Persistent Organic Pollutants, representatives from civil societies and representatives from GEF Implementing Agencies.

The purpose of the meeting is to keep GEF stakeholders abreast of developments relating to GEF strategies, policies and procedures and to further enhance stakeholder coordination.

Around 80 participants will come from Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The GEF serves as a financial mechanism to the Rio-conventions of which Solomon Islands is a party to, namely: United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (UNCBD); United Nations Convention of Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and United Nations Framework on Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues.

An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.



Turkmenistan joins several UN environmental conventions (Google / Trend)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Aug. 26 / Trend H.Hasanov /

Turkmenistan has acceded to a number of UN environmental conventions, the State and Law Institute under the Turkmen President reported.

Turkmenistan ,as the subject of the international community, has ratified a number of environmental conventions: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal and the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters




UN decades (Google / Biodiversity Policy and Practice)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

UN Decades on Biodiversity and Desertification Launched in Africa and South America

July 2011: The regional launch for Africa of the UN Decade on Biodiversity was celebrated at the offices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in conjunction with observance of the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification. The African launch was preceded by the celebration of the UN Decade on Biodiversity in South America.

The Africa launch, held on 22 July 2011, was attended by more than 200 ambassadors, diplomats, and representatives of UN agencies and other international organizations, who gathered to celebrate biodiversity and join efforts to halt land degradation, demonstrating the synergy between the biodiversity and the land-degradation agendas.

The South America launch, held in Quito, Ecuador, on 15 July 2011, marked the beginning of celebrations of the Decade in South America.



2003 – Arizona – Afforestation experiments with TerraCottem soil conditioner applied on fruit trees (Photo WVC)
2003 – Arizona – Creation of a small orchard close to the house (Photo WVC)
2003 – Arizona – Fruit tree plantation with TerraCottem soil conditioner (Photo WVC)

“So much depends on so little, and we are not really tackling the root causes” (Other News / UNCCD / L. GNACADJA)

Read at :

Droughts Do Not Happen Overnight

By Ramesh Jaura

IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – As the international community struggles to provide all possible assistance to more than 11 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya – adversely affected by the lack of food and long spell of drought – Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Luc Gnacadja, has drawn attention to an often ignored fact that “droughts do not happen overnight.”

UNCCD emerged from the Earth Summit in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). UNCCD was adopted in Paris on June 17, 1994.

While calling on the international community to respond urgently to the unfolding crisis, Gnacadja stressed the need for “effective long term solutions to the root causes of famine in drought prone regions.” Such solutions lie in implementation of drought management systems and measures to put a halt to creeping desertification stemming from acute land degradation in drylands.

After all, neither desertification, nor land degradation, nor droughts are God Given. They are triggered by human activities and climate change much of which is influenced by human beings.

A widespread but misguided belief is that drylands are waste lands or marginal lands with low productivity and low adaptive capacity where poverty is inevitable, contribute little to national prosperity and yield no good return on investments, he told a Forum on Human Security in Switzerland on July 15.

The fact is rather that drylands comprise one-third of the world land mass and population, 44% of the global food production system, and 50% of the world’s livestock. In addition, dry forests are home to the world’s largest diversity of mammals whose survival, literally, hangs on the arid zone forests.


Traditional wisdom has it that dire consequences result from continuously ignoring repeated cries for help by what multiple communities across the globe call ‘Mother Earth: “Feed me to feed you”. If not handled with care, land suffers from utter degradation and becomes acutely vulnerable to desertification that does not allow even a blade of grass to grow.

Presently, extreme poverty, increased emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, food insecurity and hunger, instability and crisis, increased water stress, biodiversity loss, and migrations are putting a huge stress on land.

This prompted the UNCCD Executive Secretary to declare, “We are the desert-making species on earth.” Gnacadja added: “We are the planet’s skin disease.” Millions in drylands are being forced to move to more productive land, and this is a major cause of conflict.


The 3 Rio Conventions (Google / allAfrica)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

2001-12 - Belgian delegation at UNCCD COP 5 (Photo WVC)

Namibia: Children Learn About Rio Agreements

ON March 23, staff members of three environmental projects of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism lectured pupils of the Khomas High School in Windhoek on the three Rio conventions.

These global environmental agreements are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


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