This study reviews all previous known attempts to approach the issue of drought analysis at the global scale as well as attempts to map disaster risks, water scarcity, climate change and related subjects – either at a country level or at regular grid scales - in order to examine the global patterns and impacts of droughts. (PDF). October 2009.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification defines desertification as "land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities". Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification. One billion people in over 100 countries are at risk, including many of the world's poorest, most marginalized, and politically weak citizens.
Fighting desertification is essential to ensuring the long-term productivity of inhabited drylands. Unfortunately, efforts to combat the ever-increasing problem have often failed and, as a result, land degradation continues to worsen.
The Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) was adopted by governments in June 1994 and came into force in December 1996. As the third convention envisaged by the Earth Summit, (the other two deal with biodiversity and climate change), the CCD aims to combat desertification and reduce the effects of drought in dry areas, particularly in Africa, the most severely affected continent.
In October 1997, the Convention launched the Global Mechanism to act as a broker between affected countries, the donor community and the private sector, mobilizing resources for anti-desertification programmes.
Combating desertification is really just part of a much broader objective: the sustainable development of countries affected by drought and desertification.
In the framework of the International Year of Deserts and Desertification, civil society organizations gathered their efforts to organize an international forum that brought together more than 150 organizations from throughout the world working on issues of sustainable development in drylands. The result was the Montpellier's appeal to combat desertification. October 2006.
The stories collected here are good examples of how local communities in different parts of the world have each sought to tackle the problem of land degradation and desertification in partnership with non-governmental organizations, international organizations and other institutions.
The objective of the network is to provide data and information services on the subject of desertification, particularily in African and the Mediterranean basin. This project has been assisted in its development on the Internet by the Centre For Earth Observation (CEO) programme of the European Union. Also available in french.
Centre for arid land studies that conducts and facilitates appropriate, participatory and applied short and long term research on the environment. It is an organisation dedicated to sustainable use of Namibia's environment.
ACTS is an international inter-governmental policy research and training organization located in Nairobi, Kenya. The Centre's activities focus on the implementation of Agenda 21 and related conventions on biological diversity, climate change and desertification.
Independent international organisation based in Tunisia, composed of African and European countries, regional and international organisations, and representatives of civil society. Site also available in french.
Thematic guide on land degradation and desertification, covering the following issues: Nature and Causes; Human Factors; Status and Extent; Costs Associated; and Policies for controlling land degradation.
An International Symposium, Rural Community Interaction, and Workshop Exploring Alternative Ways to Combat Desertification by Connection Community Action with Science and Common Sense. It was held from 8-20 April 2002 in Cape Town, South Africa, Rural Communities and Gobabeb, Namibia.
The site – also available in french and spanish- contains information on the Convention, the Secretariat, Knowledge Base, Information for Public, Media, and NGOs, Regional Information, Conference Sessions, Official Documents, and related links.
The Global Mechanism was established by UNCCD to promote actions leading to the mobilization and channelling of substantial financial resources to affected developing countries. The site includes information on financial issues, Conferences of the Parties (COP), Facilitation Committee meetings, workshops and events, UNCCD negotiations, reports, documents and publications. Also available in french and spanish.
The Web site contains technical and scientific data and information, as well as links to a number of highly informative Web sites on desertification. The information provided in this site represents a significant share of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) knowledge on sustainable development and drylands management.
In occasion of June 17, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a specialized agency of the United Nations established to combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries, highlighted this Special Report on Desertification. It includes links to relevant sites and PDF files with information by region.
Following decision 1/COP.5 by which, inter alia, the Conference of the Parties (COP) decided to establish the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) and defined its terms of reference, the UNCCD secretariat has undertaken various steps to facilitate the reporting process in preparation for the first session of CRIC. CRIC1 will be held from 18 to 29 November 2002.
"Desertification is one of the world's most alarming processes of environmental degradation. It threatens the health and livelihoods of more than one billion people. And each year, desertification and drought cause an estimated $42 billion in lost agricultural production. The great scope and urgency of this challenge led the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim 2006 to be the International Year of Deserts and Desertification". June 2005.
UNSO was created in 1973 in response to the drought in the Sahel region that year. It is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and responsible for promoting sound dryland management and development as well as drought preparedness and mitigation.
Desertification – land degrading into desert – is often blamed on mismanagement and misuse of land. Local people are allegedly guilty of over-farming, over-grazing and allowing their populations to exceed the environment’s capacity. Lim Li Ching contests this myth, describing how local farmers in arid Africa are using innovative means to farm productively without destroying the environment, and highlights some criteria for sustainable agriculture.
Land covers 14.9 billion hectares of the earth's surface. A UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) study shows that 6.1 billion hectares are dryland of which 1 billion hectares are naturally hyperarid desert. The rest of the dryland has either become desert or is being threatened by desertification. One quarter of the world's population inhabit the drylands and depend on this area for their livelihood.
In reviewing the literature on soil erosion, references to the "loss of protective vegetation" occur again and again. Over the last half-century, so much of that protective cover has been removed by clearcutting, overgrazing, and overplowing that we are fast losing soil accumulated over long stretches of geological time. Eliminating these excesses and the resultant decline in the earth's biological productivity depends on a worldwide effort to restore the earth's vegetative cover, an effort that is now under way in some countries. July 2007.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) requires signatories to create national action plans for dealing with this scourge that allow sustainable development and encompass participation by communities, amongst others. At present, 34 of the 53 countries in Africa have complied. Certain nations like Côte d'Ivoire, Libya and Guinea (which are partially or mostly affected by desertification) are not part of this group of 34, however. February 2007.
Empowering and investing in women is the key to combating the effects of desertification and paving the way for rural poverty alleviation in many of the world's least developed countries (LDCs), according to researchers, government policy-makers and United Nations experts. September 2006.
Desertification affects women and men differently due to their strictly gendered division of labour. Through their daily work, women have acquired extensive knowledge on managing natural resources and drylands, which would enable them to play a crucial role in combating desertification. However, women often do not have decision-making authority, property rights, or access to resources, and are excluded from being involved in dryland development projects. Report prepared by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). June 2006. (PDF document).
The world's deserts are facing dramatic changes as a result of global climate change, high water demands, tourism and salt contamination of irrigated soils. Global and regional instability, leading to more military training grounds, prisons and refugee holding stations, may also be set to modify the desert landscape says a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). June 2006.
The book, edited by Helen Hambly and Tobias Onweng Angura, documents why grassroots indicators should play a key role in the monitoring, evaluation, and reporting systems for sustainable development and, more specifically, in efforts to reverse desertification and other forms of land degradation.
This report examines the potential implications of global climate change for the Mediterranean region. Drawing on the results of recent studies, it reviews possible changes in climate together with recent trends, the potential impacts of climate change and the implications for sustainable development.
Desertification has long been recognized as a major environmental problem, with adverse impacts on the livelihoods of people in affected areas around the world. An increasing focus on exports to northern markets, combined with potential conflicts between trade rules and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, means that further trade liberalization could worsen rather than improve this situation. As part of a report released on the eve of the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, this article looks into de impacts of trade liberalization on countries affected by desertification. December 2005.
Forty-five percent of Bolivian territory is undergoing a relentless process of desertification, with agricultural, forestry and infrastructure losses valued at more than 500 million dollars a year -- and it is taking a particular toll on the indigenous communities of the high plains. August 2005.
One-billion people live in dry regions of the world, which cover nearly 40 per cent of the Earth's surface. What they all have in common is a reliance on natural resources -including biodiversity, which is declining at a rate unprecedented in recorded history. A new report published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) analizes 19 case studies of dryland management in an attempt to marry conservation of biodiversity with development in poor countries. Chapters are available for download in PDF format. May 2005.
Drylands pose different challenges for rural men and women because of their different roles, relations and responsibilities, opportunities and constraints, and uneven access and control of resources. Furthermore, agricultural, environmental and related policies and programmes often fail to recognise women’s particular needs and crucial contribution in the use and management of dryland resources (pdf version).
Soil erosion is the "silent global crisis" that is undermining food production and water availability, as well as being responsible for 30 percent of the greenhouse gases driving climate change says a forum of experts at the International Forum on Soils, Society and Climate Change held in Iceland. September 2007.