In the analysis for presentation June 28 at UN Headquarters, New York, UNU experts say the loss of soil productivity and the degradation of life-support services provided by nature pose imminent threats to international stability. They outline a multi-point prescription for policy reform at every level of government.
“It is imperative that effective policies and sustainable agricultural practices be put in place to reverse the decline of drylands,” says Prof. Hans van Ginkel, UN Under Secretary-General and Rector of UNU.
Land use policy reform is urgently needed to halt overgrazing, over-exploitation, trampling and unsustainable irrigation practices, as are policies to create livelihood alternatives for dryland populations, he says.
Based on input of 200 experts from 25 countries convened in Algiers late last year, the analysis urges governments to adopt a broader, overarching view and a more coordinated, integrated and interlinked approach to dealing with desertification, climate change, poverty reduction and other public concerns.
It highlights dozens of problems and inconsistencies in policy-making today at every level, saying decisions are often taken in isolated sectoral silos, the end results of which, on balance, can be counterproductive.
“Some forces of globalization, while striving to reduce economic inequality and eliminate poverty are contributing to worsening desertification. Perverse agricultural subsidies are one such example,” says Prof. van Ginkel.
South Africa or South Korea.
“Addressing desertification is a critical and essential part of adaptation to climate change and mitigation of global biodiversity losses,” says Prof. van Ginkel. “UNU has led the argument over the last decade that such inter-linkages in policy formulations must be taken.”
“Reforming policies to combat desertification also represent one of the world’s most expedient ways to sequester more atmospheric carbon and help address the climate change issue,” says Zafar Adeel, lead author of the analysis and Director of the UNU’s Canadian-based International Network on Water, Environment and Health.
Policy formulation for combating desertification “has been hindered by the lack of concrete data about rates and extent of desertification,” he adds. “We must, as the global international community interested in desertification, put monitoring and assessment at the top of our policy agenda.”
Desertification shows no sign of abatement: An “environmental crisis” with major impacts
UNU says the main barrier to expanding isolated successes at combating desertification is “the lack of effective management policies.”In some countries where policies are deemed conducive to addressing desertification, enactment and implementation falls short. Or, designed and implemented at a national level, policies fail to translate into local action. Worse, some policies provide perverse incentives, exacerbating competition and conflict over the use of land and natural
Among many recommendations, the report urges governments and policy-makers to:
* Reject the notion that aridity and water scarcity are inevitable;* Create financial incentives for pastoralists and other dryland users
Regionally: to help address transboundary issues such as integrated river basin management and environmental migration; and
Internationally: better relate global conventions, agreements and other initiatives one to another. The analysis says the separate constitutions, priorities and procedures involved in administering the mix of international agreements operating today prevent important synchronization needed to achieve broad social and environmental goals:
food security and famine relief, conflict and migration prevention, better health and poverty reduction, desertification and climate change avoidance and biodiversity protection and enhancement.
The authors urge governments to better define and understand environmental migration – its economic and ecological consequences, and to create a global framework to legally recognize and assist environmental refugees.
“The expected climatic change scenarios as projected by the recently published report of the IPCC give an additional dark shade to an already gloomy picture. However it is difficult to properly quantify the number of environmental migrants and the migration routes as long as the concept itself remains debated even from a scientific point of view,” the analysis says.
UNU advances a classification scheme based on three subgroups of migrants driven predominantly by environmental reasons:
§ Environmentally motivated migrants
§ Environmentally forced migrants
§ Environmental refugees
Finally, the analysis says governments need to measure progress in human-development terms and develop a common set of environmental indicators and data collection methods to enhance consistency for tracking and comparison purposes.
Wangu Mwangi | alfa
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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