Wednesday, 30 September 2009

First global scientific conference supporting UN efforts to curb desertification

21 September - 2 October 2009 Buenos Aires, Argentina. Scientists gather in Buenos Aires to find a way forward for agriculture in vast dry areas, where the poor are most vulnerable to land degradation and climate change.

The desertification-climate change nexus are a key topic of discussion at this global scientific conference, the first such event to be held in support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Organized by the Dryland Science for Development (DSD) Consortium, the event (titled "Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends") is being held in connection with the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the UNCCD.

The Conference highlights the importance of developing and implementing science-based methods for monitoring and assessing land degradation and underlines the need for a holistic approach to understanding and overcoming the devastating impact of desertification.

Drylands comprise more than 40 percent of global land area and are home to nearly 35 percent of its people, according to a white paper prepared for the UNCCD conference. As much as 20 percent of this land has already been affected by desertification, defined as land degradation (that is, loss of the land's productive capacity), caused by a combination of human activity and climate conditions.

"The fragile ecosystems of the dry areas are highly vulnerable to land degradation and desertification. Farmers in these areas already face harsh and variable weather and limited resources," added Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the CGIAR-supported International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and Chair of the DSD Consortium. "We must clearly demonstrate progress in helping them deal with those limitations of today, if they are to have any hope of adapting to climate change tomorrow."

Martin Bwalya, NEPAD Secretariat, introduced the session of WGIII “Knowledge, management, institutions and economics.”

For more information, please visit: