“Drought is on the verge of becoming the next pandemic and there is no vaccine to cure it.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told the first United Nations General Assembly meeting on desertification and drought in a decade, that his country’s report card will show it is well on track to meet its land restoration commitments.
Investing in sustainable land management and land restoration will help build economies post-COVID-19 and help poor people increase their incomes as the destruction of global food chains by the pandemic provides a chance for ensuring diversity in production through ensuring the inclusion of local producers.
"The harvested water has helped us at critical times and the fog nets have also brought us visibility. Today we produce beer here and many tourists come," says Daniel Rojas, president of the Peña Blanca Agricultural Community in Chile.
A Trinidad and Tobago parliamentary report in 2018 made two disturbing observations about that country’s quarry sector:
- Of the 67 mining operators on record, only 6 were operating with current licenses;
- The State loses large sums in the form of unpaid/uncollected royalties from quarry companies.
“I have never planted a tree in my life,” laughs Jairos Saunyama, a tobacco farmer, revelling at the absurdity of the question of whether he is involved in the country's afforestation efforts. Sawunyama is one of thousands of farmers who are blamed by local conservationists for turning the country's forests into deserts and dust bowls.
Ibrahim Harouna and his neighbours sit under a tree at his uncle’s house, playing chess and chatting amid the simmering heat of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
The last time Siyabulela Sokomani ran a marathon he did so with a tree strapped to his back. A native wild olive sapling to be exact. It affected his race time for sure, with the seasoned runner completing the 42.2 km race in 4.42 hours rather than his usual 3.37 hours.
Abdoulaye Maiga proudly displays an album showing photos of him and his family during happier times when they all lived together in their home in northern Mali. Today, these memories seem distant and painful.
Desertification is not cheap. It has social, cultural, environmental and of course economic costs to reverse what it destroys.
At his speech at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) summit in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised South-South cooperation and technology solutions, but issues of land ownership dog the ongoing negotiations.
As the second week of the UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP) kicked off in Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted South-South cooperation and issues of land degradation.
Expectations are high, perhaps too high, as the 14th Conference of the Parties (CoP 14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), now into the third day of its two-week session, is being held outside the smog-filled Indian capital of New Delhi.
The villagers living on the foothills of Mount Kenya have a belief: If they burn the forest, the rains will come.
Jennifer Handondo, a small scale farmer of Choma district in southern Zambia, plants food crops such as maize mostly for her family’s needs. Because of uncharacteristically high temperatures and low rainfall during the rainy season in March, the divorced mother who single-handedly supports her three children, has not been able to harvest as much as she usually does. So she has diversified into selling seedlings of neem, Moringa and other medicinal trees.
Environmental and humanitarian action is often understood as two different sectors. However, the lack of awareness regarding its intersections could lead to further long-term devastation.
As the weather continues to change and land becomes degraded, the socio-economic security implications are vast. In an effort to tackle these issues, climate-smart agriculture is quickly gaining traction around the world.