The 2009 World Day to Combat Desertification-"Conserving land and water = Securing our common future"

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Date: 17/06/2009
Location: World Day

Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) threaten human security by depriving people of their means of life – by taking away food, access to water, the means for economic activities, and even their homes. Failing policies and climatic change are putting more pressure than ever on the soil. When secure water and food supplies cannot be guaranteed, people frequently migrate to areas where they believe they can find them. The most recent estimates put the number of the environmentally displaced from anywhere between 17 and 24 million people around the world. It is projected that for the period leading up to the year 2050 there will be 200 million environmentally induced migrants.

This threat is particularly endangering the African continent since two-third of it is desert or dryland and the process of land degradation is far from being contained: Arid and semi-arid areas in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to increase by 60-90 million hectares with changing rainfall patters and desertification by 2090.

This will imply revenue losses of 26% for drylands in sub-Saharan Africa by 2060, roughly US$26 billion (in constant 2004 terms). This is equivalent to three-quarters of aid transfers to the region.

This is why the implication of the African Development Bank is particularly important to reverse this negative trend. Recently the Bank had a Portfolio Review to quantify the value of its investments and assess their contribution to the achievement of established strategies and objectives under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), TerrAfrica, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), and the Environment Action Program (EAP).