Speaking on the World Day to Combat Desertification, Ban Ki-moon said droughts could be mitigated and called for the full implementation of the outcomes of a meeting on national drought policy in Geneva earlier this year. (LINK)

In addition, Ban Ki-moon called for the implementation of an agreement made last year at the Rio + 20 Conference on sustainable development to avoid and offset land degradation.

The Secretary-General’s sentiments were echoed by Luc Gnacadja, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the treaty designated to lead global efforts to mitigate drought and combat desertification and land degradation.

“For over three decades, the international community has grappled with drought impacts and their mitigation. But relief still dominates. In most cases, the response is too late. To date, only one country in the world has a comprehensive national drought policy,” he said.

Gnacadja added: “Investing in our resilience today costs a fraction of the relief price we will pay tomorrow, and its benefits are worth far more. Becoming a drought-resilient global society is not only possible and affordable, it must be our first and only option.”

The calls come after wildfires raged in the United States following last year’s drought, the most extensive in the country since the 1950s. Namibia declared a national drought emergency last month as 14% of the population became food insecure.

Conor McGlone

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