As climate change and land degradation are noted to cause increasing drought and aridity across the world, food and water shortages are also growing more severe, linked at times to both conflict and forced migration.
According to Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Luc Gnacadja, nearly 2 billion hectares of land has been degraded since 1950, with 12 million hectares being lost annually, which is now increasing with global warming. These changes in turn have caused weather shifts including reduced crop harvests at a time when rising food demands are estimated to require a 70% boost in food production by 2050.
Moreover, 44% of the world's food is produced in arid dryland regions where resource allocation is already an issue. Executive Secretary Gnacadja said, “The drylands are the most conflict-prone zone of the world, and that is not by accident. Instability is fuelled by precisely the quest of people to have access to very scarce resources like productive land and water.”
While vulnerable countries such as Niger, China and India have in recent years been making valiant efforts to curb desertification through activities like large scale-tree plantings, Mr. Gnacadja warns that more direct support is necessary to help those living in the dryland areas maintain food supplies as well as their homes.
He also said that a new desertification monitoring system is being launched in an effort to track land degradation and try to protect against it. Our appreciation, Mr. Gnacadja, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and all others working to raise awareness of our fragile planet's need for urgent care.
Let us join in more sustainable practices so that the Earth may be renewed to continue supporting the lives of all beings. In a video message presented at a June 2009 climate change conference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the alarming consequences of drought and desertification, as well as the most effective way to stop them.