UNCCD Highlights Links between Land Degradation and Agriculture on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
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17 June 2008: The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) selected “Combating land degradation for sustainable agriculture” as the theme for 2008 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, celebrated on 17 June.

On the occasion, UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja highlighted that the conversion of land to “unsustainable uses can exacerbate the vicious circle […]

Luc_gnacadja
17 June 2008: The UN
Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) selected “Combating land
degradation for sustainable agriculture” as the theme for 2008 World Day to
Combat Desertification and Drought, celebrated on 17 June. On the occasion,
UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja highlighted that the conversion of land
to “unsustainable uses can exacerbate the vicious circle of land degradation,
loss of biodiversity and climate change.”

He emphasized the need for “a
global response to increase the productivity of land ecosystems and make
sustainable agricultural production a priority through pro-poor policies in
view of adaptation to climate change and biodiversity protection.” He also
stressed the role that science and technology play in combating land, including
through developing “guidelines and standards for alternative uses of
agricultural goods and services, such as for biofuel production,” and
integrating scientific research with “proven policies and strategies aimed at
sustainable development, market-oriented mechanisms and appropriate
capacity-building.”

In his message to mark the
day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that increasing demand for
agriculture production is pressing “more and more of the good land…into
service, without proper attention to conservation, and poor farmers and
pastoralists are forced onto marginal land.” He emphasized that the UNCCD
offers the sole international legal framework to reclaim dry and degraded land,
and suggested that “these unused lands could also serve for biofuel production,
and thus offer new benefits for their inhabitants.” [UNCCD Press Release]
[UN
Secretary-General’s message
]

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