The deterioration of land resources in the world's arid and semi-arid regions is one of the gravest problems facing our planet and its people. Desertification, broadly defined, is one of the principal barriers to sustainable food security and sustainable livelihoods in our world today. It is not a future global threat; it is a devastating day-to-day local reality. If we aspire to provide sustainable food security and sustainable livelihood for the world's expanding populations, we must not merely attack desertification; we must not merely halt desertification, but actually reverse desertification.
An effective international convention on desertification is key to seeing that this future tragedy does not occur, and that today's deplorable situation is successfully addressed. At stake are the lives and well-being of the thousand million people who inhabit areas that are prone to drought and desertification. The countries most severely affected are among the poorest, with the lowest rankings on the Human Development Index, while within these countries the people most affected are the poorest and most marginalized. Failure to deal with desertification will accelerate the vicious cycle of expanding poverty, environmental decline, and mounting population pressures, leading to more emergency situations of famine and called-for relief.
It is my hope that, through the convention, we can develop a truly global partnership to bring desertification under control, to move to sustainable management of dryland areas, and to reclaim degraded arid lands. We should be very explicit about the convention's objectives. A priority, stated objective should be to reverse the desertification process in all countries where it is severe, and to do so within a designated time-frame.
Authors and Publishers
Speth, James Gustave
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.