Combine Efforts To Tackle Land Degradation

A mining site in Burkina Faso, due to poor rainfall, crop yields have declined and the search for gold is the new attraction for young people. The activity causes massive land degradation. Copyright: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By: Ochieng’ Ogodo

Land degradation and desertification are rampant in several countries, especially in the developing world but combating them can be achieved only through combined efforts that include governments, scientists, the private sector and the youth, experts told a meeting.

About two billion hectares of land need to be restored globally and governments should act fast in mobilizing communities and resources to make this a reality, according to Ibrahim Thiaw, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) who was speaking at the World Day to Combat Desertification last week (17 June) in Turkey.

“Land restoration cannot be left in the hands of governments alone if success is hoped for in the near future,” Thiaw says.

The Food and Agriculture Organization says that African countries have lost a significant quantity of their soils to various forms of degradation. Serious erosion areas are found in countries such as Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.

Combating desertification, restoration of degraded land and soil, and striving to achieve a land degradation-neutral world by 2030 is a key target of the Sustainable Development Goal15.

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