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Global agencies aim to curb local desertification

23 October 2014, 17:32

Lagos – Nigeria is among a number of countries poised to benefit from an initiative bolster sustainable land management and restore drylands and degraded lands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The European Union (EU) and Food and Agricultural Oorganisation in collaboration with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) have launched a €41 million, four-five programme to bolster sustainable land management and restore drylands and degraded lands in the regions.

The programme, named Action Against Desertification, is crucial in fighting hunger and poverty, fostering stability and building resilience to climate change in some of the world's most vulnerable areas, the programme sponsors said.

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"Action Against Desertification will continue supporting local communities, government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal in the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands," read a statement by the co-sponsors of the initiative.

It will support agro-forestry and promote income-generation activities, as well as the creation of employment opportunities in rural areas, especially for youth and women, based on the sustainable production, processing and marketing of agricultural products and forest goods and services.

Accoring to the statement, more than 70 percent of people living in drylands and other fragile ecosystems across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific derive their livelihoods from natural resources but population growth and climate change put increasing pressure on these ecosystems, exacerbating degradation and desertification of increasingly over exploited lands.

"Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts," said José Graziano da Silva , FAO's Director-General about the need for the programme.

"But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change."

In Africa, the programme's efforts build on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, established in 2007, which has becomeAfrica's flagship initiative to combat the effects of climate change and desertification.

- CAJ News


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