Desertification: a huge challenge

According to the UN, desertification is "the greatest environmental challenge of our time."

In 1982, the UN proclaimed a world charter of nature which aims at the restoration of natural environments up to their ecological potentialities, then promulgated the 17 June of each year "world day of fight against the desertification and the drought". The fight against desertification is the target of the 15th Sustainable Development Goal.

What is "desertification"?

The internationally agreed definition of desertification, originally enunciated in Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, then in Article 1 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, is as follows: "The term desertification refers to land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas as a result of various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. "

Is desertification the transformation of the earth into desert?

Contrary to popular opinion, desertification is not the transformation of the earth into desert. Desertification occurs because of the extreme vulnerability of dryland ecosystems to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and inappropriate irrigation practices can hinder land productivity.

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is celebrated every year to raise public awareness of this issue and the efforts to be made at the international level.

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What are the consequences of desertification?

The consequences of drought and desertification are disastrous for the population. Here are many of them :

• food insecurity;

• Starvation;

• Shortages of drinking water;

• The massive migration of populations;

• conflicts over access to natural resources;

• Decline in food production and productivity;

• Considerable costs to combat desertification, etc.

What can be done to improve the situation?

• Reforest: Trees are used to fix soils and enhance their fertility. They cut the wind and help the soil to absorb rainwater.

• Promote agriculture that does not damage the land: Do not grow a single product and let the soil rest.

• Change some of our lifestyle habits.

"The land has value, invest it! "

Desertification is a global problem that affects the ecological security of our planet, the eradication of poverty, socio-economic stability and sustainable development. According to the United Nations website, this International Day invites us to make a difference and to invest for the future by sustainable land development, under the slogan: "The land is valuable, invest it!

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