Fresh support for projects tackling desertification in Asia (Environmrntal Expert / UNEP)

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UN and partners renew efforts to support green economy projects in deserts and drylands

Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Following a major meeting on drylands held in China’s Kubuqi desert, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced fresh support for projects tackling desertification in Asia.

Tackling desertification and harnessing the economic opportunities from renewable energy, desert tourism and other sustainable development projects in drylands are the focus of new agreements signed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners in China.

Renewed collaboration between UNEP, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Beijing-based Elion Foundation was announced at the conclusion of the Kubuqi International Desert Forum – the only international forum dedicated to supporting the green development of the world’s deserts, held in Inner Mongolia.

The Elion Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports desertification control, local community development and education in the Kubuqi region (China’s seventh largest desert) and beyond.

UNEP and the UNCCD both signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Foundation that aim to improve the management of dryland ecosystems.



Anywhere on this planet, the beauty of plants and animals is food for the soul.

Therefore, from time to time, I post pictures of plants and animals in my own garden and house.

I like to share these with my readers, even if there is no direct link to the blog’s main theme.

A splendid lily (Photo WVC)
A splendid lily (Photo WVC)

Solutions to environmental challenges (UN News Centree)

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Youth to showcase their solutions to environmental challenges at UN conference

Some 250 youth delegates from over 100 countries will examine ways in which young people can directly tackle today’s most pressing environmental issues at a United Nations conference that kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya.

Organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the 2013 TUNZA International Youth Conference on the Environment will give young people the chance to hold discussion with health and environment experts on sustainable development, green entrepreneurship, water and reduction of food waste, among other topics.

“Through the TUNZA Conference, young people can deliver a clear message that, paradoxically, while time is running out, actions already underway across the globe hold the promise of delivering an inclusive green economy, green jobs and a sustainable century if accelerated and scaled-up,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner told youth delegates at the opening ceremony.


The world “continues to speed down” an unsustainable path (Google / UN / UNEP)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Despite agreed environmental goals, world still on unsustainable path – UN

The United Nations environment agency today warned that the world “continues to speed down” an unsustainable path in spite of hundreds of internationally agreed goals to protect the planet, and stressed that drastic actions and big-scale measures are needed to reverse this pattern.

“If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and ‘decoupled,’ then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” said the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner.

The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil later this month, assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.

The four goals entail eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, the removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies, and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment

According to the assessment, while some progress was shown in 40 goals, including efforts to reduce deforestation, little or no progress was detected for 24 of them, including climate change, desertification and drought. In addition, there were eight goals which showed no progress and instead further deterioration, such as the state of the world’s coral reefs.

The assessment emphasizes that countries can still meet sustainability targets if current policies are changes and strengthened and provides examples of successful policy initiatives to this end.

GEO 5, which was produced over a period of three years and with the collaboration of over 600 environment experts, also highlights that when international treaties and agreements have tackled goals with specific, measurable targets they have demonstrated considerable success.



Global Media Campaign on Environment Protection in China (Google / Xinhua / CRI)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Global Media Campaign on Environment Protection Launched in Beijing

A global media campaign aimed at alerting the public across the world to the need for environment protection was launched in Beijing on Sunday.

The campaign was jointly initiated by Xinhua News Agency, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Reuters, to coincide with the World Earth Day on Sunday.

UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said he hoped the “Xinhua-spearheaded communications campaign will inspire the public to the rich array of possibilities and encourage those making decisions on all our behalf to show the leadership needed to break with the past in order to break into a sustainable future in 2012.”

He said the launch of the global media campaign on the Earth Day would “take us on a journey through UN World Environment Day under the theme A Green Economy: Does it include you? to Rio+20 and the UN General Assembly where, 40 years ago, UNEP was legally founded.”

The campaign was first advocated by Xinhua President Li Congjun in November 2011 during a meeting with Steiner, who is also UN Under-Secretary General.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres told Xinhua in a recent interview all environment issues were “very complex … it’s something where you have to go through a concerted long-time campaign that actually brings down to the level of the public what the climate is about.”

She said she believed Xinhua had taken a very good approach because the initiative was not just about reporting the results of one conference or the other, but a much deeper commitment that the media needed to take.

Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of UNCCD, told Xinhua the implications of desertification on food, water, energy and even human security were not well known.

“Not only do I welcome the initiative of Xinhua, but I also see the potential to work together to take on the issue that is often overlooked, to take it out of what I call ‘blind spots’,” he said.


Connections between ecosystems, water management and food production (WorldWatch)

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UNEP and IWMI Advocate Agroecosystems to Improve Food, Water Security

Nourishing the Planet

By Dana Drugmand 

With the world population already at 7 billion, producing food in environmentally sustainable ways will be one of the key challenges we face this century. Investing in the connections between ecosystems, water management and food production will be an important part of the solution to reducing hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation, according to a report produced jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

An Ecosystems Services Approach to Water and Food Security, which was launched during World Water Week in Stockholm back in August, addresses the question of how it is possible to boost food security without severely depleting water resources and while keeping healthy ecosystems intact. The report notes that water scarcity is one of the key factors limiting food production. At the same time, current agricultural practices are putting huge strains on water resources. Groundwater levels, for example, are declining rapidly in major food producing regions such as the North China Plains, the Indian Punjab, and the western United States.


To read more on agroecology and ecosystem services, see: New UN Report Illustrates the Potential of Agroecology to Feed the Hungry, De Schutter calls for local agroecology and accountability in food systems, Briefing serves up food for thought on global hunger, and A Greener Revolution.

Megatrends of the 20 years post the first Rio conference (New Agriculturist)

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Keeping track of our changing environment

Published by UNEP
2011, 99pp, ISBN 978 9 28073 1903 (Pb), free to download

Facts and figures are the stuff of professional life but, to be meaningful, comparative data is essential, though often lacking. UNEP’s timely new publication concisely and graphically presents the data of the mega trends of the 20 years post the first Rio conference, contrasting the dramatic changes that have resulted during that time. Graphs, tables and photographs present aspects of the environment in six major sectors: population and human environment, economy, environmental trends, energy, and industry, and transport and tourism. The largest sector is environmental trends, covering atmosphere, climate change, forests, water, biodiversity, chemicals and waste, natural hazards, governance, agriculture, and fisheries.


UNCCD-COP 10 : a lot of innovation both in the actions proposed and the way parties interact among themselves (Google / UNEP)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Desertification Convention breaks new ground

“This session will be remembered as the session that has brought a lot of innovation both in the actions proposed and the way parties interact among themselves. We have brought together the pieces that will enable the engine called science to move this process forward. We have dealt with knotty issues of institutional governance. The COP’s high level segment showed an unmatched level of political will and there is a renewed spirit of international cooperation,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja.

Some of the COP10 achievements mark a first among the three environmental conventions of climate change, biodiversity and desertification that emerged from Rio in 1992.

Speaking at the end of the two week COP in Changwon City on Saturday morning, Mr. Gnacadja commended the parties for agreeing on a set of tools to measure the impact of their work, a first for the Rio Conventions, and the frameworks to address the foremost effects of climate change, food security and gender among the affected populations.

“We have brought on board this process, business community, which is part of the problem, but can be a greater part of the solution, and we have put forward a strong message for the Rio+20 process to ensure sustainable land management is a cornerstone of the green economy,” he added.

Mr. Gnacadja said the COP10 outcomes will have a positive impact on the situation of the over 1.5 billion people who directly depend on degrading land for their livelihoods, and on the ecosystems affected by land degradation. Every year, 12 million hectares of land are lost through desertification and drought.

Policy-making in the climate change and biodiversity Convention processes is backed by a strong independent science and knowledge community. Without a similar mechanism, policy-making in the desertification and land degradation process has often faltered. Progress has also been constrained by an institutional governance arrangement that has the left parties divided on crucial questions such as the accountability and financing of its bodies, and the support they give to affected developing country Parties. Both challenges were largely addressed at COP10.


Technical support to countries piloting the UNCCD Impact Indicators (UNEP / UNCCD)

Read at : DesertNet News UNCCD

Dear members of DNI,

UNEP-WCMC has asked DNI to forward the following message to its members (see below).


Dear colleagues,

UNEP-WCMC has been contracted by UNCCD to provide technical support to countries piloting the UNCCD Impact Indicators. In this respect, we are working to compile a list of experts available to provide advice on Impact Indicators during and after the UNCCD Pilot Tracking Exercise.

We designed a very brief online survey (<2mins) to gain an overview of the level of expertise available.

To complete the survey please visit:

Thank you for your cooperation.




Oman : EEG’s Million Tree Campaign (Google / Oman Daily Observer)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

ESO, EEG to contribute to 1m tree campaign

By A Staff Reporter – MUSCAT — The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) joined the Emirates Environment Group’s (EEG) endeavour to promote sustainable green spaces in its Million Tree Campaign. Initiated in the year 2007 in the UAE, under the United Nations Environment Programme’s One Billion Tree Campaign, EEG’s Million Tree Campaign aimed to aid in mitigating the impact of carbon emissions and combating desertification.

Since its inception, EEG has planted 2,091,026 indigenous trees in co-ordination and support from different organisations and educational institutions in the UAE and with the involvement of students, teachers and the staff of the sponsoring organisations. Today ESO and EEG are organising a tree planting event in Salalah where 10 indigenous trees including the frankincense tree have been selected to be planted at Al Oukdeen Primary School.




Women serve on the front lines of dryland management (UNEP)

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Women and desertification: a dynamic relationship

Women serve on the front lines of dryland management. Drylands are hugely important areas of biodiversity, and home to 2.3 billion people worldwide, both rural and urban dwellers. At the same time, drylands are among the most risk-prone ecosystems. This section will investigate the complex interaction between local communities – and women in particular – and desertification, and also anti-desertification initiatives.

UNCCD Pilot Impact Indicator Tracking Exercise Inception Workshop (DNI / UNEP)

A message from DesertNet International

“On behalf of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, we are herewith providing you with the final report of the UNCCD Pilot Impact Indicator Tracking Exercise Inception Workshop held in Mexico in July 2011.”





People of Allahabad to plant saplings of neem, peepal and banyan trees (Google / The Times of India)

1988-07 - Burkina Faso / Province Yatenga / Arbolle - Planting saplings in TerrraCottem treated plant holes (Photo WVC)
1988-12 - Arbolle - Saplings continue to grow well in the dry season thanks to the quantity of water stocked in the soil conditioner (Photo WVC)


Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Administration make it large, plan to plant 10Lakh saplings

Kapil Dixit, TNN

ALLAHABAD: In an effort to retain the green cover of the city, district authorities are planning to plant as many as 10 lakh saplings. Officials are also seeking cooperation of masses, non-government and social organisations.

2011 has been declared as the `International Year of Forests’ by the United Nations. The date is dedicated to raise awareness about challenges faced by the forests all over the country and motivate masses to contribute in forest conservation.

Guinness Book Record holder, Rajendra Tiwari, popularly known as Dukaanji, has called up people of Allahabad to plant saplings of neem, peepal and banyan trees. He is of the view that there is a need to create awareness among masses and only meetings/symposiums or exhibitions could not bring the desired results. Continue reading “People of Allahabad to plant saplings of neem, peepal and banyan trees (Google / The Times of India)”

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