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Posted by: Eco-question Editor
Source: UNCCD – www.unccd.int
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- Yukie Hori, PhD
Awareness Raising, Communication and Education Unit
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – www.unccd.int
Healthy soil sustains your life: LET’S GO LAND-DEGRADATION NEUTRAL
The World Day to Combat Desertification is observed every year on 17 June. This year, the Day’s slogan is Healthy soil sustains your life: LET’S GO LAND-DEGRADATION NEUTRAL, said the Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja, when he announced the news to the press on 17 February 2012.
The world’s most significant non-renewable resource is fertile soil, which is the peel of productive land. Nevertheless, each year 12 million ha of land, the area three times the size of Switzerland, are lost due to desertification. Land degradation directly affects 1.5 billion people globally.
Soil is key for securing water, energy and building resilience to climate change. Therefore, the international community needs to take urgent action in order to avoid the increasing loss of land. To this end, this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification will highlight the efforts required to secure the long-term sustainable land management.
In September 2011, the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on "Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" brought together political leaders from across the world. Many of them stressed that the commitment to build a land degradation neutral world would be an important outcome for Rio+20. Therefore, the theme for the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification is land-degradation neutrality.
Zero-net land degradation can be achieved when, over a given period of time, non-degraded land remains healthy, and already degraded-land is restored. Such approach can ensure food security, alleviate rural poverty and hunger and build resistance to major environmental challenges. Successful practices for attaining the zero-net land degradation in drylands could be then effectively adapted and adopted in non-drylands. This is further elaborated in the concept note and press release provided.
The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 (General Assembly Resolution A/RES/49/1995) to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought, and the implementation of the UNCCD. You can celebrate the Day through organizing activities such as seminars, media events and campaigns. Every single activity involving community participation and cooperation is encouraged!
Objectives: Target-setting and Visibility
The significance of land and soil to humanity remains obscure to many. The risk to livelihoods emanating from land degradation does not receive the deserved attention. Political leaders during the aforementioned UN General Assembly High-level Meeting stressed the need for a sustainable development goal on land with targets, which would lead to a land-degradation neutral world.
Nearly half of the world’s food production systems are supported by drylands. Accounting for more than 40 percent of the world land mass, drylands are home to one third of the world population. Despite water scarcity, conflict-proneness and economic hardships, drylands are key to supporting the habitats, crops and livestock that sustain the entire global population.
Sustaining healthy soil and restoring degraded land in drylands can ensure food security, alleviate rural poverty and hunger and build resistance to major environmental challenges. Successful practices for attaining the zero-net land degradation in drylands could be then effectively adapted and adopted in non-drylands. In turn, setting the ZNLD target globally will contribute to building the resilience of dry and non-dry lands and enable the successful achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, climate change adaption and mitigation and biodiversity preservation.
The specific objectives of the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification are to:
Popularize the idea of becoming land-degradation neutral by setting the target of zero-net land degradation. “Becoming land-degradation neutral” entails preventing healthy soils from improper exploitation and restoring natural fertility of soils to a sufficient scale.
Promote the observance event on 17 June 2012 in every country as well as at regional and global levels in order to raise public awareness about the benefits of the zero-net land degradation target for sustainable development and green economy.
Promote actions and exchanges among stakeholders in the lead up to the 2012 WDCD and in the longer-term for the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification (2010-2020).
Learn more on:
- Did you know how trees dominate to ecosystems?
- Soil: Treating It Like Dirt
- Did you know how soil is important?
- Did you know that soil is just another name for dirt?
- Biodiversity Theme: Support your national parks!
- Biodiversity Theme: Find out about the special flora and fauna in your area.
- Biodiversity Theme: Looking to add new plants to your garden?
- Biodiversity Theme: Be creative and design a wildlife area in your garden!
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