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:

Illegal logging – formal agreements to clean up trading routes

Photo credit: CIFOR

Certified timber in a log pond in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Efforts to curb illegal logging may be better-served to focus on large-scale loggers first, research suggests. Michael Padmanaba/CIFOR photo

EU plan to curb illegal logging: Think big by thinking small?

Existing legislation is not ready for small-scale operators, and seeking blanket compliance will outlaw them overnight


Indonesia—Faced with growing pressure to root out “illegal timber” from international trade, some tropical timber-producing countries have a choice.

Massive logging -
Massive logging –

On one hand, they can adopt and enforce a legality verification system that instantly covers their entire timber supply chain, from large-scale industrial logging for export markets to small-scale artisanal operators serving the domestic market.

On the other: They can start “small” and ramp up enforcement slowly.

The decision could have wide implications for the short-term success and long-term sustainability of the initiative.

For a decade, the European Union (EU) has been negotiating with tropical timber-producing countries to stem illegal logging. Recent research indicates that they may have to leave small-scale producers aside—temporarily—to bring their joint efforts to fruition.

Formal agreements are now in place to clean up several major trading routes from Africa and Asia to Europe. A recent paper by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) suggests, however, that their gradual implementation could avoid disrupting the livelihoods of many thousands of people in timber-producing countries. This could be done with “the ‘weakest’ parts of the sector, notably current informal operators, being granted a grace period of learning before implementing and fully enforcing any new rules,” the authors write.

Recent developments illustrate why.

Read the full article: CIFOR

Grabbing land and seeds of Africa

Photo credit: Pixabay

Africa’s Land

Africa’s Land and Seed Laws Under Attack

Fahamu (Oxford)


The lobby to industrialise food production in Africa is not only pouring money into plantation projects on the ground, it is changing African laws to serve foreign agribusiness as well. This is the main finding of a new report from the civil society organisations Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and GRAIN.

The report, “Land and seed laws under attack”, documents who is pushing what changes in these two battlegrounds across Africa. Washington DC, home to the World Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the US Agency for International Development, stands out the biggest source of pressure to privatise African farm resources right now. But Europe, through the European Union and various donor mechanisms, is also deeply involved, providing funds and legal frameworks like the plant patenting scheme known as UPOV.

Privatising land and seeds is essential for the corporate model to flourish in Africa. With regard to agricultural land, this means pushing for the official demarcation, registration and titling of farms. It also means making it possible for foreign investors to lease or own land on a long-term basis.

With regard to seeds, it means having governments require that seeds be registered in an official catalogue in order to circulate.

Read the full article: allAfrica


Quick-fix approach rather than addressing long-term disaster prevention (IRIN News)

Read at :

SAHEL: Donors learning funding lessons – slowly

This year donors are stepping up more quickly to meet Sahel’s humanitarian needs compared to 2010, when they were slow to respond. However, they are still at fault for taking a quick-fix approach rather than addressing long-term disaster prevention and resilience needs, say aid groups.

As of now, over US$150 million has been pledged to respond to food insecurity, drought and nutrition needs in the Sahel, whereas at the same point in 2010 donors were doing “almost nothing”, said Amadou Sow in the Africa coordination division of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Continue reading “Quick-fix approach rather than addressing long-term disaster prevention (IRIN News)”

Kenya : corruption charges in connection with funds designated to assist with drought relief (AfricaFiles / The Nation)

Read at :

Kenya: Donors cut aid over fresh funds scandal

Summary & Comment: Kenya is facing corruption charges from the World Bank in connection with funds designated to assist with drought relief. Other donor nations including the European Union are reassessing their aid to Kenya in the light of this scandal. DH

Author: Daily Nation Reporter
Date Written: 7 July 2011
Primary Category: Eastern Region
Document Origin: Daily Nation, Kenya
Secondary Category: -none-
Source URL:
Key Words: Kenya, World Bank, scandal, funds, aid,


A scandal similar to one that led to donor freeze of Free Primary Education funding has emerged in the programme to save communities from the effects of drought. Billions of shillings committed by various donors and international lending institutions for fighting drought in Northern Kenya are frozen as the country begins to confront suspension by the World Bank of a critical drought management project that has been running since 1996, and which is currently under the ministry for the Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. It is financed by the government and a World Bank loan.

One of the best ways to make sure people have access to food (UNNews)


New York, Aug  3 2009  5:00PM

Poor farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America are set to receive a productivity boost through new United Nations-led agricultural projects funded by a €34 million donation from the European Union (EU), the UN World Food Programme (<““>WFP) announced today.

WFP schemes helping mostly female small-scale farmers grow food more efficiently in Bolivia, Guatemala, Senegal, Nepal and the Philippines will receive the additional spending from the EU’s €1 billion Food Facility fund.

The European Union has recognized that one of the best ways to make sure people have access to food is to help small farmers increase production,” said Gemmo Lodesani, Director of the WFP liaison office in Brussels.

That way, they can feed their families and increase availability of food on their local markets,” said Mr. Lodesani, adding that more than “2 million people, many of them children and vulnerable adults, will benefit from the  food generated by five WFP programmes.”

These WFP projects, such as collective farming, crop diversification, and food-for-work programmes aimed at improving irrigation and flood resistance, will be coordinated with the Food and Agriculture Organization (<“”>FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (<“”>IFAD).

For more details go to UN News Centre at

St Lucia to implement UNCCD (Google / Carribean Net News)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification–20-20–.html

St Lucia to implement convention to combat desertification

By Anselma Aimable
Caribbean Net News St Lucia Correspondent

CASTRIES, St Lucia: St Lucia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries (MALFF) is the Focal Point for the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification UNCCD. This Convention was ratified by St Lucia in July 1997 and under the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) all Country Parties to the Convention are expected to prepare and implement a National Action Plan (NAP).  In light of this Convention, under the European Union Special Framework of Assistance (EU-SFA) 2003 program, a consultancy to further the development of the National Action Plan and a Strategic Action Plan (NAP/SAP) for combating land degradation and drought was initiated by the Forestry Department on April 1, 2008 and will be undertaken over a period of nine months, with the final outputs due at the end of December 2008. In this regard, the services of a consultant has been contracted to support the Focal Point in the implementation of the assignment. Continue reading “St Lucia to implement UNCCD (Google / Carribean Net News)”

We did it – EU GMO Success (Greenpeace)

Read at : Greenpeace

Greenpeace <>

We did it – EU GMO Success

Spread the good news! European Commissioners yesterday overturned the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) “safe to eat” verdict for three new GM crops — two varieties of GM maize and one variety of GM potato. This means the agro-chemical companies can’t commercialize these crops in Europe for now. BASF’s GM potato was only one European Union vote away from being released commercially. But the Commission has sent it to the back of the authorization queue. For the first time, the Union’s most senior lawmakers have publicly doubted the safety of GM crops. The EU Observer paper explains: “The European Commission normally adopts decisions based on the opinion of EFSA, which anti-GMO campaigners complain bases its investigations on data provided by the GM industry itself. It has always declared any GM crops it has studied to be safe.”
Continue reading “We did it – EU GMO Success (Greenpeace)”

EU : apocalyptic view of climate change (Google / Prensa Latina)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Europe’s apocalyptic view of climate change

Brussels, Mar 9 (Prensa Latina) The European Union presented a nearly apocalyptic view of the world as a result of climate change, even if greenhouse emissions are reduced. The report, jointly drawn up by the office of EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and the Commission warns the European Union against those risks and the consequences for its future, which will be threatened by uncontrollable waves of immigrants. The report will be presented on Monday to the Foreign and General Affairs Council of the Union, and to the Council of Heads of States and Government on Thursday. The document predicts a 20-percent decrease in the world’s Gross Domestic Product, because of increased sea levels in regions with major coastal infrastructure like China, India, the Caribbean and Central America. It also says the already small cultivable land in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Sahel has shrunk 75 percent, a situation that will result in mass migrations. Continue reading “EU : apocalyptic view of climate change (Google / Prensa Latina)”

EU/Africa : From working for Africa to working with Africa (Google Alert / Scoop)

Read at : Google Alert / desertification

An EU/Africa Partnership For The 21st Century

José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Ladies and gentlemen, Excellencies,

No-one has any doubts about the importance of this Summit.

This is not about what Europe can do for Africa or vice-versa, but about what we can do together. After all, we are building on ancient links.

Thanks to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy – and I am proud that the European Commission was the initiator of this approach – we have a shared vision and common policy framework in place to deliver the full potential of this partnership.

Let me be quite clear: the achievements of the past will not be undone, aid policies and instruments that have proven their efficiency will continue. The EU will respect its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, and will continue its leadership role as the largest provider of development aid in the world.

But imagine what we can achieve together in the future. Imagine if we showed the world this week that the EU and Africa are ready for the next step. Imagine if we showed that with 1.5 billion people and 80 countries – almost half the UN membership! – we can make a real impact, both regionally and as global partners.

This is important, because we are facing an increasing number of global challenges that require a partnership approach. Let me pick out just two, as an example.

First, climate change. An alliance on climate change will have beneficial effects on both continents. Jointly we could: support adaptation to the effects of climate change, some of them , like desertification, so devastating in Africa – including for family-based agriculture; take initiatives to reduce the risk of natural disasters; and promote equitable participation in the global carbon market.

Europe has what is perhaps the most ambitious agenda for tackling climate change, while many African countries risk being among the worst affected especially some poor countries of Africa. It is to both our advantages to develop common positions and defend them in the international arena, beginning this week with the negotiations in Bali for an ambitious post-2012 climate agreement.

A second challenge is to harness the potential of globalisation to deliver sustainable growth and employment.

To get the most from globalisation for both Africans and Europeans, we must free the dynamism of our entrepreneurs; attract new investment; develop infrastructure, and build strong regional markets that can compete with the best in the world, as a basis for achieving sustainable development and fostering economic and social cohesion.

We do not want globalisation built on commodity booms or on abusive sweatshops. We want a fair and sustainable globalisation, which benefits all our peoples in Africa and Europe.

The Economic Partnership Agreements that we are currently negotiating, and in many cases already concluding, also here in Lisbon, will help to do all these things. They will turn our trading relationship into a healthy, diversified and development-oriented partnership, anchored in a gradual integration of Africa into the global trading system.

The Economic Partnership Agreements are therefore not only trade agreements; they constitute the key instrument of a reinforced economic and political agenda. They are tools at the service of our common development goals.

Today our relationship is a mature one, which allows and implies that we can discuss openly topics of common concern. This includes naturally the humanitarian situation in Darfur or human rights respect in Zimbabwe.

Africa and Europe should now able to discuss human rights and good governance in a true spirit of partnership.

And, frankly, I hope that those who fought for independence and for freedom of their countries now accept the freedom for their own citizens.

Climate Lending Fund for Poor Countries (Google Alert / Environment News Service)

Read at : Google Alert / desertification

Climate Lending Fund Proposed to Help Poor Countries Cope

LISBON, Portugal, November 9, 2007 (ENS) – An innovative fund financed by the world’s richest countries is needed to solve the problems faced by poor countries suffering from climate change, Louis Michel, European commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, told delegates today at the European Development Days event. The proposal to create a “global fund” that will allow developing countries to fight climate change came at the close of the three day long conference in Lisbon which attracted hundreds of delegates from government development agencies, nongovernmental organizations and civil society. Continue reading “Climate Lending Fund for Poor Countries (Google Alert / Environment News Service)”

%d bloggers like this: