Swift action urged to prevent land degradation

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An aerial view of settlements in desert area surrounding Timbuktu, Mali. UN Photo/Marco Dormino

More than 2 billion hectares of land are degraded, including over half of all the Earth's agricultural land.

That's what the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador John Ashe says in his message for Word Day to Combat Desertification.

He warns that if action is not taken to ensure that all the land we have can withstand soil erosion and to prevent the loss of underground fresh water and the intrusion of salt water into underground fresh water, there won't be enough arable land to feed the world's population.

Ambassador Ashe points out that "land degradation is not only a problem in the world's drylands. Most of the deterioration is happening in humid areas".

"With the ongoing impact of global climate change, we will continue to witness extreme weather events, which will in turn lead to even more land degradation", the President of the General Assembly adds.

World Day to Combat Desertification is observed on 17 June every year and the theme this year is ecosystem-based adaptation.

Ambassador Ashe calls for ensuring that "every ecosystem big or small is protected against extreme or erratic weather."

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

NEWS-Desertification

Duration: 1'33"

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