Arid and semi-arid biomes support valuable ecosystems with livelihoods linked to rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism and have unique biodiversity and cultural values. However, desertification is land degradation in dry-lands that leads to loss of productivity and ecosystem services.
Countries of the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia (NEN) region face a myriad of social, economic and political challenges that have stalled their structural and rural transformation processes. This has had a detrimental impacton rural youth, who, as a result, face limited economic opportunities. The NEN region has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world.
Across Central Asia, agriculture largely depends on irrigation due to arid and semi-arid climatic conditions. Water is abstracted from rivers, which are largely fed by glacier melt. In the course of climate change, glaciers melt down so that a reduced glacier volume and reduced water runoffs are expected to be available for irrigation.
Shortly after the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was founded in 1945, the organization had started to support member countries addressing structural problems in agriculture with land fragmentation and small holding and farm sizes through the development of land consolidation instruments (Binns, 1950).
The Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Europe and Central Asia produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) provides a critical analysis of the state of knowledge regarding the importance, status, and trends of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people.
From a Mongolian ‘super mine’ to China’s One Belt One Road, rapid infrastructural development is reforging Central Asia as an economic pivot of the future. Such development offers enticing economic benefits, but threatens fragile environments and local livelihoods.
The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) set out internationally-accepted principles and standards for responsible practices, providing a framework for governments, the private sector and civil society to use when developing policies and programmes for improving food security.
China’s $1 trillion One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure project has significant landscape, socio-economic, and political implications in recipient countries. To date, investigation has focused on Chinese motivation and plans rather than OBOR impact in host nations.
Ukraine has tremendous potential that has not yet been reached. Ukraine is endowed with intelligent, energetic, and entrepreneurial people; extraordinary fertile land; considerable natural resources; and a geographic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. There is no reason why Ukraine, under the right conditions, should not be among the league of prosperous and successful nations.