Azara Blog: UN report on desertification

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Date published: 2005/06/17

The BBC says:

Desertification is a growing menace that puts at risk global efforts to tackle poverty and hunger, a new report from a coalition of scientists states.

The group says bad crop management and the misuse of irrigation in a number of regions is putting unsustainable pressure on dryland areas.

The UN-led team estimates that 10-20% of drylands are already degraded.

They warn that unless practices change these areas will become unproductive, blighting the lives of millions.

Their report is called Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Desertification Synthesis. It is the latest document produced by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) project.

This $22m, four-year study by 1,300 experts from 95 countries has been described as the most detailed "green healthcheck" yet on the state of the planet.

In the case of drylands, preventing their degradation into deserts is an immense global problem, say the authors.

"Given the size of population in drylands, the number of people affected by desertification is likely larger than any other contemporary environmental problem," they write.

Drylands cover 41% of the planet's land surface, and are growing. They are home to over two billion people, including the world's most impoverished, in areas such as central Asia and northern Africa.

No great surprises here except that for some reason climate change did not rate a mention, and that is also bound to play a role.

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