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Thursday, February 21, 2019
This video is part of a series of stories and op-eds launched by IPS on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17
ROME, Jun 13 2018 (IPS) - We are witnessing the degradation of about 24% of the planet’s land, with water scarcity affecting almost 2 billion people on the planet.
Globally, 169 countries are affected by land degradation or drought, or both. Already average losses equal 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) but for some of the worst affected countries, such as the Central African Republic, total losses are estimated at a staggering 40 percent of GDP. Asia and Africa bear the highest per year costs, estimated at 84 billion and 65 billion dollars, respectively.
Desertification entails losses of 42 billion dollars in annual global income, while actions to recover land cost between 40 and 350 dollars per hectare. The returns on investments in actions against degradation at the global level are four to six dollars for every dollar invested.
Poverty, political instability, deforestation, over-grazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.
Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about 1 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. These people include many of the world’s poorest, most marginalized and politically weak citizens.
Since the year 2000, we have seen a substantial increase in migration forced by desertification: from 173 million people to 244 million people in only 15 years.
The 2018 World Day to Combat Desertification, focuses on how consumers can regenerate economies, create jobs and revitalize livelihoods and communities by influencing the market to invest in sustainable land management.
The day convenes under the slogan: “Land Has True Value. Invest In It,” to remind the world that land is a tangible asset with measurable value beyond just cash.
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