November 2, 2011
United Nations Works to Address Desertification
On Saturday, October 22 the two-week
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) concluded in
Changwon, South Korea as over 6,000 delegates, scientists and other
experts discussed ways to reverse desertification, land degradation, and
drought, all of which have worsened due to climate change.
UNCCD estimates that 6 million hectares of forests are being destroyed
annually, with some 24 million people who have had to leave their homes
due to desertification in recent decades.
Furthermore, a new
United Nations report released during the summit stated that the
Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty cannot be achieved
without responding to land degradation of vulnerable dry lands, which
compose 40% of the world’s land area and support 2 billion people.
With a shared goal of achieving zero land degradation by 2030, the
meeting highlighted the importance of halting unsustainable land and
With a primary driver of land degradation worldwide being livestock
grazing, delicate ecospheres like grasslands are even more susceptible
to desertification. Acknowledging this, some delegates advocated for a
change in agricultural practices away from meat consumption.
To help achieve the Convention's
goals, a first-ever set of monitoring tools was presented for use by
participating countries, along with the Changwon Initiative, introduced
by hosting nation South Korea to support follow-up work and encourage
reforestation efforts worldwide.