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World Day to Combat Desertification: Monday, 17 June 2013

World Day to Combat Desertification: Monday, 17 June 2013

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/youtube-channel/2013/04/17/world-day-to-combat-desertification-monday-17-june-2013/

World Day to Combat Desertification

Monday, 17 June 2013

The theme of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is drought and water scarcity. Freshwater is valuable. Of all the water on Earth, only 2.5 per cent is freshwater. And of all this freshwater, the total usable supply for ecosystems and humans is less than 1 per cent. When demand for water exceeds available supply, it results in water scarcity. Drylands are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity. The projected intensification of freshwater scarcity will cause greater stresses in drylands. While each person needs at least 2,000 cubic meters of water for human well-being and sustainable development every year, on average, people in the drylands have access to only 1,300 cubic meters.

The goal of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is to create awareness about the risks of drought and water scarcity in the drylands and beyond, calling attention to the importance of sustaining healthy soils as part of post Rio+20 agenda, as well as the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

This year’s slogan, “Don’t let our future dry up” calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. The slogan embodies the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and sustainable use, and that there are solutions to these serious natural resource challenges. Land degradation does not have to threaten our future.

Download PDF for more information

Water ‐ precious resource
Freshwater is valuable. Of all the water on Earth, only 2.5 per cent is freshwater. And of all this freshwater, the total usable supply for ecosystems and humans is less than 1 per cent.  When demand for water exceeds available supply, it results in water scarcity. This is why the World Economic Forum, in their Global Risk Report 2013, suggests that decreasing water supply is among the top five risks, both by likelihood and impact, that humanity faces over the next ten years.
Increasing water scarcity and drought, in part as a result of climate change, will have potential catalytic negative social and economic impacts on food security, energy availability, political stability
and peace.
Freshwater is renewable, but depends on the continued healthy functioning of ecosystems. Some 70 per cent of the freshwater available globally is held in the soil and is accessible to plants, and only 11 per cent is accessible as stream flow and groundwater. Globally, agriculture accounts for at least 70 per cent of freshwater use, up to 90 per cent in some fast‐growing economies. But unsustainable agricultural practices pollute fresh water sources and cause land to become degraded. Land degradation in turn lowers water tables, resulting in water shortages and salt intrusion in coastal areas, and worsening the effects of drought on affected populations and ecosystems. It is predicted that the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought may expose almost two‐thirds of the world’s population to increased water stress by 2025

by Anric

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Desertification now crisis affecting 168 countries worldwide, study shows

Desertification now crisis affecting 168 countries worldwide, study shows

http://www.globalfundexchange.com/blog/2013/04/17/desertification-now-crisis-affecting-168-countries-worldwide-study-shows/

  • By Ed King for RTCC
  • Severe land degradation is now affecting 168 countries across the world, according to new research released by the UN
MDG : Burkina Faso : Desertification

A Burkinabe man from the village of Selbo village, in northern Burkina Faso, gestures near grass he planted to help stop the advance of the Sahara desert. Photograph: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

Severe land degradation is now affecting 168 countries across the world, according to new research released by the UN Desertification Convention (UNCCD).

The figure, based on submissions from countries to the UN, is a marked increase on the last analysis in the mid-1990s, which estimated 110 states were at risk.

In an economic analysis published last week the Convention also warns land degradation is now costing US$490 billion per year and wiping out an area three times the size of Switzerland on an annual basis.

“Land degradation and drought are impeding the development of all nations in the world,” UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja told RTCC.

“This is a challenge that is causing governments to take this issue seriously, but how do you get them to take it seriously? By showing them the rate of return on restoring degraded land is one of the smartest investments of our time.

He added: “Desertification, land degradation and drought is an issue of market failure. The lack of economic market valuation has led to land being perceived as a cheap resource.”

The causes of land degradation are varied, but are widely attributed to drought, climate change, intensive farming practices and poor water management.

Desertification is low on many countries’ radar – illustrated by Canada’s recent withdrawal from the UNCCD – but its links to climate change and food security are starting to resonate with governments and business, particularly given fears over the world’s ability to feed a soaring population.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predicts demand for food will increase 60% by 2050. Experts say the world will need an additional 120 million hectares of agricultural land to support the required food production – that is a new farm the size of South Africa.

Meanwhile recent studies by the UK Met Office and USAID have linked the severe drought that hit East Africa in 2011 and falling rice yields in South East Asia to man-made climate change.

Since 2000, the prices of staples such as of meat, dairy, cereals and sugar have doubled, reflecting a lack of elasticity in the food market’s supply chain.

Vicious circle

Efforts to boost agricultural production often lead to deforestation, a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.

This has a knock on effect in terms of reducing the planet’s store of natural carbon sinks and destroying the ‘ecosystem services’ trees provide such as water storage, exacerbating the problem.

The UNCCD hopes to adopt a ‘Zero Net Land Degradation by 2030′ resolution at its 2013 Conference of the Parties in Namibia later this year, and there are signs sustainable land management could form one of the Sustainable Development Goals set to be announced in 2015.

Last week former Finland President Tarja Halonen, now Chairman of the UN Global Sustainability Panel, indicated that the links between rural poverty, famine and land management should “guide the work” on those new set of targets.

“Sustainable land management, prevention of land degradation and rehabilitation of land is the most cost effective and cost beneficial ways to eradicate rural poverty,” she added.

In Africa alone a UNCCD expert panel estimates 4-12% of agricultural GDP is lost due to deteriorating environmental conditions, contributing to the high levels of chronic hunger and conflict on the continent.

This situation is acute in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, where the combination of weak governments and a lack of annual rains linked to climate change are driving desertification levels.

In China over 400 million people are affected by soil erosion, causing annual economic losses of US$10 billion, while the UNCCD says Indian reports of degradation have increased “by a factor of six”.

Original source document: click here

by Anric

 

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World Water Wars – Peak Water a post by Anric Blatt

Here is the full movie – The Blue Gold – World Water Wars – I watched it in its entirety without distractions on a recent trip to Colorado where the driest winter for many years delivered a very poor ski season.

I highly suggest watching this movie with your kids – they need to be aware of this issue as they will grow up with this issue that is already rearing its ugly head.

Remember, we did not inherit this earth from our parents, we borrowed it from our children. What legacy are we going to leave them ? Anric Blatt

 
 

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Advancing Desertification Putting China's Agriculture at Risk

China’s desertification crisis is straining national cropland, putting the populous nation’s food and water supplies at risk.

About 1.73 million sq. km – nearly 25% of all land in China – is currently desert land or land that is becoming desert.  A small portion of that land can be treated to reclaim soil fertility, but thus far investment has been insufficient.

Liu Tuo, head of Chinese anti-desertification efforts, estimates it would take 300 years to roll back the advancing desert in China, which could worsen further as a result of climate change.  “Climate change could cause extreme weather, such as drought, which will have a very serious impact upon desertification,” he remarked at a recent news conference.

China has struggled with sky high food prices, and as industrialization grows and standard of living improves, these problems will likely worsen with time.  Ensuring China’s population has access to secure water and agricultural resources is essential.  Without sufficient attention, creeping desertification in China may become real crisis with significant impacts on food and water supplies.  Read more…

 

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