UN Calls For Halting Land Degradation

BERLIN (IDN) – As the international community heads towards Rio+20 to commemorate the historic Earth Summit in June 1992, a senior United Nations official has called for bold actions to put a halt to poverty-generating land degradation.

The Rio Summit June 20-22, 2012 should take “bold actions towards setting ambitious but attainable targets” that include a “global Zero Net Rate of Land Degradation”, UN’s Mohamadou Mansour N’Diaye said in an interview with IDN.

N’Diaye is chef de cabinet and acting deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), emerging from the Earth Summit along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). UNCCD and UNFCCC secretariats are based in Bonn.

The importance of the UNCCD is underlined by the fact that more than one billion people inhabiting drylands in some 100 countries are caught in the pangs of poverty and excruciating hunger.

Every minute, 23 hectares of land are degraded through drought and desertification, eating into the economic, social and environmental pillars of our sustainable development. 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.

The interview of UNCCD’s N’Diaye via E-Mail follows:

IDN: It’s often said that the socio-economic impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) are underestimated. Are those impacts really measurable?

Mohamadou Mansour N’Diaye (MMN): They are certainly measurable and we need that information so that the cost of action versus inaction is clearly put to the attention and consideration of decision and policy makers.

That is why the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Secretariat of the UNCCD have jointly launched a partnership on the Economics of Land Degradation (E-LD). A study on the costs of desertification, land degradation and the effects of drought is underway. Such valuation will be critical for decision making at various levels.

Original article published at www.uncsd2012.org

**NGOs and other Major groups’ organisations that are NOT yet accredited to the United Nations and wish to participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) will be offered a one time opportunity to become accredited to Rio+20. Click here to start the accreditation for new groups.The deadline for new accreditation is 20 February 2012. Once your registration is approved, your organization can preregister representatives until the general deadline of 20 May 2012.

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