This being the International Year on Forests, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has chosen to highlight the links between deforestation, desertification, and soil protection in arid zones. “Forests are essential to the eradication of poverty in dry areas. They are also the first step towards healing the drylands and protecting them from desertification and drought,” observed Mr Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.
Trees stabilize soil, prevent erosion, and contribute to water conservation. They provide food, fuel, medicine, and shelter for people and their livestock; forests help the poorest meet their basic needs.
The Fondation Chirac has placed the fight against desertification at the core of its priorities: it is crucial for agricultural and rural development, reducing poverty, and food security for 2 billion people, a third of the world’s population. Since its inception, the Foundation has emphasized the need to tackle head on land, water, and forest management, through efforts such as the “African Solidarity for water in the countries of Niger River Basin” forum to be held in Bamako in October 2011. This same conviction will guide the Fondation at the 6th World Water Forum in March 2012 in Marseille.
|Definition of desertification|
Desertification is the degradation of soil in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It occurs when soil is fragile, vegetation cover is reduced, and the climate particularly ruthless. These areas are inhabited by one fifth of the world’s population
Created after the Earth Summit in Rio, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that devotes its attention to the degradation of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems and populations. Twelve years after its inception, it is the convention with the most acceding countries among the three Rio Conventions. It is also increasingly recognized as an instrument that can significantly contribute to achieving sustainable development and reducing poverty.