In 1994, the UN passed the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. All the world’s states joined together for this agreement. Following this, combat has become an international concern.
Since then, every June 17 marks the occasion of raising public awareness on the dangers and disastrous consequences of desertification and drought. But what are they?
Starting with some definitions:
- Drought: Natural phenomenon – which can be strengthened by the consequences of human activity – caused by a lack of rainfall. Sometimes, it can also cause desertification.
- Desertification: Soil’s deterioration in arid, semi-arid and sub humid areas. In this case, the climate factor is as responsible as the human factor. It should be noted that “desert” does not always refer to sand-dunes desert: Antarctica is also considered a desert.
Nowadays, desertification is regarded as a long-term natural disaster. According to a report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), one third of the planet’s soils are threatened by this phenomenon.
Causes and consequences
Even though climate fluctuations have a negative impact on soils, human’s activity is the main cause of it. More specifically, it is caused by the inappropriate use of these soils (intensive agriculture, irrigation, deforestation, salinization, pollution, tourism, etc.).
Obviously, desertification has risks and consequences which are numerous and impact both the populations and the environment. Please find below a non-exhaustive list:
- Soil flooding
- Deterioration of water quality
- Soil depletion
- Conflicts over access to natural resources
- Mass migration
In addition, regarding the current sanitary context, it is important to remind everyone that soils’ deterioration can lead to an increase in the transmission of infectious diseases of animal origins.
A shared commitment
Desertification has become one of the most important challenges of sustainable development. Thus, this fight must involve everyone; it requires a common commitment.
Numerous projects have already been launched on the matter: The Great Green Wall led by the African Union, the Gandhi Selectra project, the Negos GRN project…
It is in everyone’s capacity to take action at their own level; by simply planting trees for example! So why not organize a “reforestation operation” in your town?
An article by Elise Forteguerre, General Project Manager at Junior ISIT
|Causes & consequences:
|COVID19 & desertification:
|The Great Green Wall https://www.grandemurailleverte.org/
Negos GRN: http://www.foncier-developpement.fr/acteur/negos-grn/
Gandhi Selectra: https://selectra.info/energie/guides/environnement/compensation-carbone/gandhi