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:

Water footprint measurement and water management best practices (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

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UNIDO, DNV GL to Develop Water Footprint Measurement, Promote Water Management

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and DNV GL – Business Assurance have entered into a partnership to develop and implement joint projects in the field of water footprint measurement, as well as to promote water management best practices, with a particular emphasis on Africa.

Li Yong, UNIDO Director General, and Luca Crisciotti, Chief Executive Officer, DNV GL – Business Assurance, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Vienna, Austria, to formalize the partnership, which will help build the capacity of the local private sector in certification, label creation, evaluation, training and coaching in food safety and security, as well as in responsible supply chain and quality management.

UNIDO notes that in many markets, freshwater resources are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change, as well as competing demands from industry and growing populations. UNIDO and DNV GL will jointly develop a water footprint self-assessment tool to assist small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries to evaluate their footprint in restricted stages of the product life cycle, specifically the so-called ‘cradle-to-gate’ assessment, from agricultural production through processing and production and up to the factory gate.


Regional FAO Initiative on Water Scarcity in the Near East (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

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 FAO Launches Initiative on Water Scarcity in the Near East

With the goal of supporting countries to build partnerships and streamline action on agriculture water management, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has launched a regional Initiative on Water Scarcity in the Near East.

The Initiative will work on a Regional Collaborative Strategy on sustainable agriculture water management for increasing the level of food security, and a Regional Partnership to support countries in the level of implementation of the collaborative strategy. The launching workshop took place in June 2013, and described the process of developing a regional review, followed by a series of National Assessments that will include, water accounting/auditing, the development of a water and food supply cost curve, and a knowledge gap analysis.


We will have to scale up water and sanitation access (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

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Study Reveals Large, Untapped Potential for Water and Sanitation Services for the World’s Poor

Many of the poorest, un-served people in developing countries, for whom public water and sanitation services are out of reach, could increasingly rely on service provision through the domestic private sector.  Tapping the Markets: Opportunities for Domestic Investments in Water and Sanitation for the Poor, a new report today released by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), finds that this will not only improve their livelihoods but is also an enormous market potential which waits to be tapped.

Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation and at least 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Global estimates of economic losses from the lack of access to water and sanitation are estimated at US$260 billion every year.  “The public sector alone cannot meet this massive challenge; if we want to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity for the bottom 40%, we will have to scale up water and sanitation access,” said WSP Manager Jae So. “And to do that, both the public and private sector will need to work together.”

One of the most striking findings of the report is the enormous market potential. Focusing only on Bangladesh, Benin, and Cambodia, about 20 million people are projected to obtain their water from rural piped water schemes by 2025. That is 10 times the current number, a market worth at least US$90 million a year. On the sanitation side, there is a potential US$700 million Bottom of the Pyramid market in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Peru, and Tanzania.  The current total market for improved on-site sanitation services in these four countries is estimated to be worth US$2.6 billion.


Natural solutions to global water crisis (EMWIS / SEMIDE)

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Urgent need to focus on wetlands as natural solutions to global water crisis

A report on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands urges a major shift in our attitudes to wetlands, to recognise their value in delivering water, raw materials and food, essential for life, and crucial for maintaining people’s livelihoods and the sustainability of the world’s economies.

The report launched 1 February presents insights on critical water-related ecosystem services in order to encourage additional policy momentum, business commitment, and investment in the conservation, restoration, and wise use of wetlands.

It shows how recognizing, demonstrating, and capturing the values of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed, more efficient, and fairer decision-making.

For example, improved water management practices allowed the restoration of Lake Ichkeul in Tunisia, resulting in the doubling of the number of tourists since 2005. The promotion of the lake as a tourist destination helped raise awareness of the value of the lake ecosystems and the importance of the wise use of wetlands. It also generated new sources of income for the Park management and conservation and allowed establishment of basic training and credit schemes to increase the involvement of local communities in tourism activities.

“It is poor people who suffer the most when biodiversity is lost, because their survival depends on the wealth of nature. When we destroy wetlands, we disrupt nature’s water cycle and its ability to provide water for households and farms, so inadvertently we add to the suffering of the poor. This report reinforces the message that restoration and protection of wetlands is vital to address today’s most pressing challenges of water and food security, climate change, and poverty. ‘TEEB Water and Wetlands’ calls on development policy-makers to recognize these ecosystem values and put in place policy responses that promote the conservation and restoration of wetlands” says TEEB Study Leader and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Pavan Sukhdev, currently Chair of the TEEB Advisory Board.


Desertification, Drought and water scarcity (EMWIS / SEMIDE)

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Water Scarcity
Water scarcity refers to the relative shortage of water in a water supply system that may lead to restrictions on consumption. Scarcity is the extent to which demand exceeds the available resources and can be caused either by drought or by human actions such as population growth, water misuse and inequitable access to water. At the national level water scarcity is expressed as m3 per capita per year. The greater the figure the greater is the scarcity. Most of the Mediterranean countries are facing water scarcity.

Drought: Concept
Drought is a recurrent feature of climate that is characterized by temporary water shortages relative to normal supply, over an extended period of time – a season, a year, or several years. The term is relative, since droughts differ in extent, duration, and intensity.

Desertification means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.


EMWIS Flash – March 2012

EMWIS Flash – March 2012
Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water Sector
EMWIS is a program of the Union for the Mediterranean.
For further information:
Monthly Flash produced by the EMWIS Technical Unit- OIEAU, CEDEX, SOGESID-
It is available in English, French & Arabic.
(French & Arabic versions are available few days later)

Mediterranean Water Information Mechanism / Geo-Catalogue / UfM-Water

In this issue N°98 (
1- EMWIS participation to the 6th WWF: Sustainable cost recovery watch & shared Information Systems approach
2- A recognised success for the 6th World Water Forum which gathered more than 35,000 participants in Marseille
3- Mediterranean cross continental process at the World Water Forum
4- Territorial water governance in the Mediterranean
5- INBO: The Pact for Better Basins Management
6- Managing our water resources from space
7- WANA Water Policy Brief presented in Marseille during the World Water Forum
8- Water around the Mediterranean: special REVOLVE report highlights challenges and efforts made to face them
9- Desalinised Solutions: Water and Energy in the Arab States
10- Arab countries to invest US $180 billion in power, water, energy projects
11- Reflections on the right to water: what is at stake as we move towards Rio+20?
12- Virtual water used to compensate natural hydraulic inequalities
13- Urban planning and water management need integrating
14- Value Ecosystems – Not Just Crops – When Managing Water Use, says UN Report
15- Harnessing Science and Technology toward Improved Water Management
16- FoEME’s new groundwater project for the Mediterranean Basin
17- Belgium: The water bill become indigestible: “Consumption Late payments and settlement plans are increasing”
18- Spain, Portugal face worst drought in 70 years
19- France: Its water footprint published
20- Tunisia: Towards revolutionizing its water resources management
21- Israel forced to deal with the Palestinians for wastewater discharged into the Dead Sea
22- Lebanon: An environmental observatory


Halting water scarcity, drought and desertification (Google / EMWIS/SEMIDE)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Halting Desertification in the Jucar River Basin (HALT-JÚCAR-DES)


The current pilot action funded by the EC (DG Environment) started with the signing of an agreement on 21 December 2011.

The Coordinating entity is the Spanish Consulting firm Evaluación de Recursos Naturales, S.A. (EVREN), and the main partner is the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector (EMWIS/SEMIDE). In addition, the Júcar River Basin Authority (CHJ) acts as a collaborating entity to ensure the coherence of data compilation and assessment.

The duration of the action is 12 months, and the works will be developed throughout 2012.

The objectives of the action:

This action aims at obtaining and assessing socio-economic, environmental and climatic data, develop updated water accounts according to water availability and existing demands in the Júcar River Basin district, all which would allow assessing existing desertification risks. It is intended, through management and water savings recommendations, to contribute to halting water scarcity, drought and desertification in the basin.

Specific objectives include:


Halting desertification in Europe (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

PDF Halting desertification in Europe – 2011


Open call for proposals in the framework of the Preparatory Action on development of prevention activities to halt desertification in Europe

Many European countries are affected by the consequences of water scarcity, droughts and land degradation caused by water resources over-exploitation exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Most European river basins and waters have been altered by different human activities leading to land degradation, low river flows, lowered groundwater levels and major adverse ecological effects.

Against this background a preparatory action/pilot project on development of prevention activities to halt desertification in Europe was included in the EU budget 2009 and 2010 and 4 pilot initiatives were financed from these budget allocations. In the framework of the Preparatory Action1, ‘Desertification 2011’ (Preparatory Action on development of prevention activities to halt desertification in Europe), the European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment, is launching again a Call for Proposals with the aim of identifying 5 to 6 projects eligible for financial support, promoting action on preventing desertification and droughts in pilot river basins.

Description and objectives

The general objective of this preparatory action is to continue the identification and development of prevention activities to halt desertification in Europe started in 2009.

The pilot initiatives should supplement the ongoing projects on tackling water scarcity, droughts and desertification by focusing on complementing EU water resource balances elaborated in the framework of the System of Economic and Environmental Accounts for Water (SEEAW)2 with local data, as well as identifying management, technological and economic measures allowing the setting up of optimal water management in the pilot river basins.

A more detailed description of the objectives and the specific content is set out in the Guide for grant applicants.

An Arab water security strategy (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

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IFAD supports efforts to develop an Arab water security strategy

Water scarcity and climate change were once again the main topics of discussion during the well‑attended Second Arab Water Forum held in Cairo, Egypt, from 20 to 23 November 2011.

The Forum underlined the importance, in a region that is getting warmer and drier, of resolving the issues of increasing water scarcity and climate change through innovation, science, investments and integrated water management and technological solutions. It also reiterated the need to strengthen knowledge, exchange information and recognize the fundamental role of water and food security in ensuring a stable political and economic future for an Arab region that is currently going through dramatic social and political transition.

Participating for the second time in the event, IFAD’s input included a multimedia information stand at the Forum’s exhibition, illustrating the Fund’s long experience in addressing comprehensive water issues in rural areas of the Arab region. The stand was extremely well received by participants and delegates and on the second day was visited by His Excellency Dr Mahmoud Abu Zeid, president of the Arab Water Council and former Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation.


Reuse of Municipal Wastewater (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

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Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater

Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse.


Improve groundwater management in MENA region (SEMIDE/EMWIS)

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USAID grants $2.95 million to UNESCO-IHE to improve groundwater management in MENA region

The U.S. Mission to UNESCO has announced that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $2.95 million grant to UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education (IHE-Delft) for the creation of a “collaborative knowledge network” aimed at improving the management of groundwater in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region.  The MENA region includes Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

The goals of Groundwater Sub-Net MENA are: to facilitate groundwater research in key areas of importance, strengthen groundwater capacity through training and scientific exchange, and create a dialogue between researchers and policy makers on groundwater management. These activities will bridge the gap between research and policy by addressing real-life groundwater problems of immediate interest to policy makers.  The project’s research will be used to develop policy and planning tools that can be easily used and adapted by relevant government agencies.  Ultimately, this project will improve access to clean water and preserve water resources in a region where they are increasingly scarce.


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