UN chief urges global efforts for drought, desertification

United Nations, June 18 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has called for a collective global action to build resilience and prepare for droughts, as well as to combat desertification (a type of land degradation).

“Droughts are hard to avert, but their effects can be mitigated. Because they rarely observe national borders, they demand a collective response,” reported Xinhua citing the UN chief in a message marking this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which features the theme of “Don’t let our future dry up”.

From Uzbekistan and Brazil to the Sahel and Australia, “the social, political and economic costs of drought are evident”, said the UN chief.

Last month, Namibia declared a national drought emergency as 14 per cent of the population became food insecure. Last year, the US experienced its worst drought since the 1950s, which affected 80 per cent of agricultural land.

“Over the past quarter-century, the world has become more drought-prone, and droughts are projected to become more widespread, intense and frequent as a result of climate change,” said Ban.

The UN chief encouraged countries to build resilience to droughts by implementing the outcomes of the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy, held in Geneva last March.

He also urged the international community to implement last year’s agreement reached at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to avoid and offset land degradation.

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