Government to domesticate UN convention on combating desertification

Usman Jubril

After 21 year of entering into force globally, the Federal Government plans to domesticate the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, (UNCCD) in a move to fight desertification and drought in 11 frontline States.
In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) recommended to the UN General Assembly for the negotiation for the UNCCD and the effects of drought, particularly in Africa. Negotiations began in early 1993. The Convention was concluded and opened for signing in June 1994.

At the national level, the UNCCD calls for the implementation of activities aimed at prevention and/or reduction of land degradation, rehabilitation of partly degraded lands and reclamation of degraded lands through National Action Programmes to be developed by all parties.

Speaking at World Day to Combat Desertification, Minister of State Environment, Ibrahim Jibril said, these are fallouts from the Rio Convention of 1992, and they have become the pillars for sustainable land management for agriculture and shelter for the present teaming population and future generations.
“Our campaign: “Our Land. Our Home. Our Future” intends to promote public awareness in the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.”
He added, “We’ve invested on implementation of projects/programmes to curb the rampaging effects of these disasters in North, by establishing shelterbelts, woodlots, orchards, acacia plantations to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought and climate change.”

He noted that land is a vital resource for producing food and other ecosystem goods and services including conserving biodiversity, regulating hydrological regimes, soil nutrients cycling, and storing carbon, among others.
According to him, desertification has negatively affected water resources, drives deforestation, food security; and contributes to environmentally induced migrations, and is therefore, amongst the most critical sustainable development challenges in the north.
He also explained, “this will undermine government’s efforts in poverty eradication, fighting unemployment and enhancement of economic opportunities in rural communities, and if we do not rise to the challenges, we will not achieve our commitments for climate change adaptation and mitigation.”
The minister further stressed, “as people that rely heavily on land as their main source for farming and housing, especially the rural poor, human well‐being and sustainable livelihoods are completely dependent upon and intricately linked to availability and productivity of the land.”

He said: “We recently signed agreement of permanent adhesion to Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) with mandate to monitor environmental changes and providing information necessary for formulating policies and programmes that can help in ameliorating the emerging environmental challenges.”
The Ministry is currently piloting, the Greening Programme as part of the move to protect and rehabilitate areas in hot spots. The planting of trees and other associated activities will provide measures to curb land degradation and to deal with impacts of climate change.

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Ibrahim JibrilUNCCD
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