Poverty and environmental degradation are major problems in dry lands, where forests and trees contribute significantly to rural livelihoods. In order to eradicate poverty in the dry lands, it is important to protect the land from deforestation, fragmentation, degradation and drought. About 228 mha (69%) of India's total geographical area (about 328 mha) is under dry lands (arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid). These areas incidentally are highly populated which makes the people vulnerable to environmental stress and impacts livelihoods directly.
In order to tackle the issues of desertification, land degradation and droughts, 22 major programmes are being implemented in the country, including, the “Mission for Green India”, one of the Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, which will address dry land forests, in addition to other ecosystems.
Protecting drylands is essential. Although deserts cover more than 40% of the planet's land area, they are facing dramatic changes as a result of global climate change, high water demands, tourism and salt contamination of irrigated soils.
The slow advance of the desert is a daily reality for many farmers living near the Nile River. Crops are hit by frequent drought. Bacteria taint the dwindling water supply.
For farmers living throughout its valleys, fishermen on lakes in the region, industries along its shores, and the millions who depend on its waters to drink and wash, the Nile means life. No wonder the competition for this precious resource has fuelled generations of tensions that are only now showing signs of change.
UNEP-WCMC brought together a side event on behalf of the Environmental Management Group [www.unemg.org] in the margins of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s 9th Conference of the Parties [UNCCD] held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This event was an avenue for open consultation in support of the EMG’s forthcoming report encouraging all UN agencies to join efforts in delivering on a compeling new vision for drylands development. The EMG has a mandate to build inter-agency cooperation on important global issues which warrant a collective “One UN” approach.
With climate change dominating international environment forums in recent years, the issue of maintaining biodiversity tends to be overlooked. Yet, as CIFOR scientist Terry Sunderland points out, the role biodiversity plays in food security and ecosystems means it should be placed firmly back on the global agenda.
In many of the world’s dry, agricultural areas, including much of Africa, it is traditionally women who devote time and effort to the land. This fact sheet draws attention to the complex and evolving nature of gender issues pertaining to drylands women.
Women serve on the front lines of dryland management. Drylands are hugely important areas of biodiversity, and home to 2.3 billion people worldwide, both rural and urban dwellers. At the same time, drylands are among the most risk-prone ecosystems. This section will investigate the complex interaction between local communities – and women in particular – and desertification, and also anti-desertification initiatives.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) currently has an enormous opportunity to foster the integration of the cross-cutting issues surrounding sustainable land management (SLM) into the broad context of international policy processes and into sustainable development at the country level.
Climate resilience and climate change risk management; adaptation; and mitigation are the most important drivers for sustainable use of natural resources such as water, soil and vegetation worldwide.
On the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification, the GM would like to draw attention to the potential of the UNCCD as the main policy forum that brings together the themes of climate resilience food security and rural development through sustainable land management (SLM).
Dryland Pastoral Systems and Climate Change: Implications and Opportunities for Mitigation and AdaptationPosted on: 14 December 2009 - 3:26pm
Our environmental crises are inter-related. Climate change, biodiversity loss, drought and desertification are inter-related and are symptoms of unsustainable land management. They result in loss of agricultural productivity, reduced capacity to sustain rural livelihoods and increased risk of, and vulnerability to, natural and human disasters. Refocusing efforts and investment on management for healthy productive land and improved security of tenure are a prerequisite to secure the lives and livelihoods of millions of people worldwide and to sustain the range of products and services provided by the environment in the short and long term.