AFRICA: Plans to combat desertification stall through lack of funds

Officials attending an international meeting on desertification have heard that 80% of African nations have submitted national reports on the issue, but their plans will not be realised without funding.

The third meeting of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) is being held in Recife, Brazil. African countries have been amongst CCD’s most active members and many are eager to put national and regional action plans into action.

A lack of funding is considered the most pressing problem for African nations combating desertification. Delegates from Mali, Mozambique and Uganda – representing western, southern and eastern nations of the continent – have all emphasised the need for more money.

Discussions on a ‘global mechanism’ to fund anti-desertification work are on-going.

Speaking at the opening of CCD’s third meeting, the president of the UN General Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, said that real protection from desertification will be necessary in order to achieve sustainable development, climate change mitigation and conservation of biodiversity.

CCD was created following an anti-desertification resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1992. CCD came into force in 1996 with 159 countries having ratified or acceded to date.

An early decision to come out of the CCD convention is a resolution on the use of traditional knowledge in anti-desertification work. The decision, taken by CCD’s Committee on Science and Technology (CST), calls on the body’s permanent secretariat, based in Bonn, to develop closer ties with institutions with experience in using and reviving traditional knowledge. The resolution also invites CCD contracting nations to include in their national reports the use of traditional knowledge.

The CCD meeting in Recife continues until 26 November.

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