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17 June - World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
Desertification is an issue of global importance, which has severe consequences on international environmental security, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability and sustainable development.
110 countries of the world are under the threat of land degradation. Every year, humanity loses 12 ml. hectares of land, that equal to the territory of Benin. Vanishing land could produce up to 20 ml. tons of grain annually. The volume of lost revenues per year makes 42 bl. USD due to the land degradation.
Desertification is defined as “land degradation in arid, semiarid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climate change and human activities”. Land degradation in arid regions is defined as a decrease or loss of biological or economic productivity of dry lands. Main reason of this is generally human activities – excessive processing of agricultural land, overgrazing, deforestation and poor irrigation. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, third surface of the Earth affected by degradation, which consequently influence the lives of more than 1 billion people in over 100 countries.
There is an indissoluble link between livelihood, rich biodiversity and soil ecosystem. Fertile soil is capable of giving life, and its “health” depends largely on the cultivation methods. These methods influence the yield, the quality of food we eat, and the mechanisms of interaction with the ecosystem. Our growing dependence on ecosystem also means that with increasing the fertility of the soil we, thereby, improving life standard’s quality. Worrying about fertility of land, we contribute to the development of biodiversity of ecosystems, which are inexhaustible storehouses of natural resources, and as yet undiscovered by mankind services for future generations.
The most critical situation is in the drylands. Particularly unstable soil, sparse vegetation, and harsh climate lead to desertification.
In 1995, the UN General Assembly proclaimed June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (Resolution 49/115) in order to raise awareness and in connection with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification.
The General Assembly of the United Nations decided to proclaim the period from January 2010 to December 2020 the UN Decade for Deserts and Desertification, in order to promote action for the protection of drylands due to continuous deterioration and degradation of increasingly more land around the world. The decade will become favorable opportunity to implement changes needed to ensure that dry lands benefit humanity for many years. Uzbekistan is an arid country, much of which consists of arid and semi-arid areas (70% of the territory). Natural ecosystems in arid and semiarid zones of the country historically prone to natural salinity and are under the threat of moving sand, dust storms and hot winds, exacerbated by lack of water resources. Climatic conditions of Uzbekistan, the limited area of land suitable for agricultural use and scarce water resources force us to seek more efficient ways of using land and water resources and natural wealth.
Realizing the importance of combating desertification, as part of achieving sustainable and safe development of the country, the Uzbek government aimfully uses every opportunity to address the problems associated with land degradation, desertification and drought. One of the steps was signing of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (CBD), on December 7, 1994 and ratified the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan on August 31, 1995. The Center of hydrometereological service under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan (Uzhydromet) is responsible for the implementation of the CBD in Uzbekistan.
A number of international projects aimed at solving the problems linked to land degradation were implemented. Multilateral country project on capacity development, implemented between 2010 and 2012 by the United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility, the German Agency for International Development and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention is part of multilateral country activities of the “Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM)” aimed at raising potential of Uzbekistan related to land degradation. The objectives of the project are integration of sustainable land management (SLM) in the national policy and legislation, effective mobilization of resources for the implementation of SLM initiatives, better cooperation between government agencies and land users, as well as sharing and dissemination of best SLM practices. The project focuses on public awareness on land degradation and desertification.
Press service of the State committee for nature protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan
||Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan
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