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Desertification: UN experts prescribe global policy overhaul to avoid looming mass migrations

And, left unchecked, the number of people at risk of displacement due to severe desertification is an estimated 50 million over the next 10 years a sweep of migrants worldwide equal in number to the entire population of 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 worlds 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 UNUs 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 resources.

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 ot
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
United Nations University
27-Jun-2007


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