Sustainable Land Management (SLM)
Cost of inaction on desertification higher than cost of action, UNCCD
lundi 15 avril 2013, par Florent Tiassou

Land degradation is costing the international community some USD 490 billion per year, way higher than the cost of action to prevent it, a scientific conference, which ended today in Bonn, Germany, concluded. Sustainable land management, one of the most affordable tools to prevent land degradation and to restore degraded land, is a way out of poverty that comes with ecosystem service benefits for the wider society.

These are some of the conclusions from the UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference on the economic assessment of desertification, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi‐arid and dry sub‐humid areas, which took place from 9‐12 April. “Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) is also an issue of market failure. The lack of economic market valuation has led to land being perceived as a cheap resource. But an investment in sustainable land management is a smart investment and many farmers worldwide are taking practical steps to address desertification and land degradation, and to adapt to drought, when they notice a change in their land productivity,” said Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, in his closing remarks. “We need the outcomes of this conference to have ‘legs’ and we have got to be able to run with them The evidence that was collected needs to be a source of change at political, private sector and community level. So we need to take the outcomes and change the season through committed outreach and advocacy using these findings,” he added. In four days, scientists, experts, civil society organizations and media from every region of the world discussed the economic and social costs of desertification, land degradation and drought, and the costs of inaction, based on a study titled, “The Economics of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought : Methodologies and Analysis for Decision Making.” This was the first global valuation of these phenomena using a cost‐benefit analysis, and the first economic assessment in over two decades. The study was called for in 2011 by the UNCCD’s Conference of the Parties (COP). “Sustainable management of natural resources is today more critical than ever to human survival. This conference insistently showed the importance of fertile land, undermining the fact that the cost of inactivity in combatting DLDD is much higher than to take appropriate actions now ! The question is, can we take a bold step towards zero net land degradation and sustainable development ? I am convinced we can ! Scientific knowledge and technology is the key to sustainable land management,” said Walter Amman, President of Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, the organization that led the study. Antonio Rocha Magalhães, the current Chair of the Convention’s Committee on Science and Technology, which was mandated by the Parties to commission thestudy to a consortium of independent scientific organizations, will present the results to the COP meeting in the latter half of the year.

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