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
Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
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Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
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Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
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Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
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