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

her dryland users to preserve and enhance the ecosystem services their land provides to all;
  • Accept the carbon sequestration as a measure for simultaneously combating desertification and climate change. While vegetative cover in most drylands is sparse, drylands represent more than 40% of global land area, providing immense opportunities for carbon sequestration;
  • Foster alternative, sustainable livelihoods for dryland dwellers, including non-agricultural jobs in industry and tourism, for example;
  • Yield ownership and decision making to communities: empower them to take charge of land on which they depend and end the pattern of individuals chasing environmentally-detrimental short-term gains;
  • Promote greater transparency and accountability, the participation of multiple actors, information sharing, measurable results, and follow-up systems;
  • Better educate local populations and policymakers, many of whom lack adequate awareness of the fragility of their natural resource base and, in some places, fail to understand fundamental concepts of "drylands" and "desertification;"
  • Put science at the heart of policy making and beef up research on emerging issues such as thresholds or "tipping points" as they relate to migration and desertification; and

  • Improve coordination at all levels:

    Nationally: harmonize policies dispersed across a range of government ministries and agencies; rationalize and link the wide assortment of development, poverty reduction and environmental policy frameworks, independently conceived and "each in their own orbit," to encourage synergies and integration;

    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

  • Contact: Terry Collins
    United Nations University

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