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UN calls for joint effort to combat desertification, drought

By Bisola Adeyemo

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is annually celebrated to raise awareness of the presence of desertification and drought in the world.

Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.

Droughts are among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries. Forecasts estimate that by 2050, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population.

This year, the theme of the International Day Against Desertification, and Drought is “Rising up from drought together” which emphasises the need for an early action to avoid disastrous consequences for humanity and the planetary ecosystems.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary, Ibrm Thiaw, who announced the theme of 2022, said “Droughts have been part of human and natural systems, but what we are experiencing now is much worse, largely due to human activity.

“Recent droughts point at a precarious future for the world. Food and water shortages as well as wildfires caused by the severe drought have all intensified in recent years.”

Between 1900 and 2019, droughts impacted 2.7 billion people in the world, and caused 11.7 million deaths. Currently, forecasts estimate that by 2050 droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population.

In Nigeria, It has been estimated that between 50 % and 75 % of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara States are being affected by desertification. These states, with a population of about 27 million people account for about 38 % of the country’s total land area.

The (UNCCD) is therefore calling on all members of the global community to treat the land as a limited, and precious natural capital, prioritize its health in the pandemic recovery and push hard to restore the land. Everyone has a role to play because everyone has a stake in the future.

World desertification and drought is celebrated every year as part of an effort to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.

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