Sifelani Tsiko Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor
Partnerships can play a key role in the global fight against desertification, a senior government official has said.
Professor Prosper Matondi, chief director for environment, climate and metereological services told delegates at the on-going 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) that partnerships were critical in averting the widening impact of desertification.
“The fight against desertification, land degradation and drought can only be won through strategic partnerships that allow for effective resource mobilisation,” he said.
Prof Matondi said partnerships that allow for synergies to be built across the three Rio Conventions on climate (United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change), land degradation and desertification including drought (United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification) and biodiversity (Convention on Biological Diversity), involvement of civil society and the private sector as well as provision of platforms for sharing information and lessons learnt, were vital.
Ivory Coast was hosting the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) which opened on May 09 and ends on May 20.
The conference was being held under the theme: “Land. Life. Legacy: From Scarcity to Prosperity.”
Close to 6000 delegates were meeting in Ivory Coast’s capital, Abidjan, to find ways to avert wide-scale disaster.
“Zimbabwe believes accelerated implementation of Desertification Land Degradation and Drought programmes has the greatest potential and provides an opportunity for the planet to achieve many of the targets under SDG 15, life on land,” Prof Matondi said.
“Healthy land and ecosystems are the bedrock of the planet’s economies and nature-based approaches are appropriate to address the triple threat of desertification, land degradation and drought, climate change and biodiversity loss.”
Zimbabwe has taken significant steps in addressing desertification land degradation and drought through the implementation of various integrated programmes that include, the National Wetlands Rehabilitation Programme, biodiversity and habitat protection, climate change management, the Sustainable Mining Projects for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Enterprises, the Land Restoration Programme, the Veld Fire Management Programme and the National Tree Planting Programme.
The country remains committed to ensuring land degradation neutrality is achieved in the country through strategic partnerships with the private sector, NGOS, development partners including the United Nations agencies and financial services institutions among others.
According to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Africa is particularly vulnerable to land degradation.
It is the hardest-hit region worldwide, with desertification encroaching on about 45 percent of Africa’s land area, while the remaining land is at high risk of further degradation.
These developments have played a major part in the current drought in the Horn of Africa.
In Somalia, 6 million people — nearly 40 percent of the population — face extreme levels of food insecurity.
The UN recently warned that more than 3.5 million Somalis are at risk of famine.