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Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to sustainable land management. The UNCCD addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands. The Conventions 195 Parties are working to improve the living conditions in the drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought.
Miss Universe and Drylands Expert Call for Greater Efforts to Secure Healthy Soils and Combat Desertification
(3BL Media) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – June 22, 2012 - Drylands Ambassadors of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) called for greater efforts to secure healthy soils and combat desertification during the press conference on 21 June. The reigning 2011 Miss Universe Leila Lopes and Executive Board Member of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Dr. Dennis Garrity called Rio 20 to agree on a goal to halt land degradation and to scale up the successful community projects to combat desertification.
“I came to Rio 20 to share the inspiring stories of people, who fight against land degradation, and to create awareness about this important environmental issue. Every minute we are losing 23 hectares of land due to desertification and drought. Land degradation affects 1.5 billion people globally”, said Miss Lopes, who returned from her first field mission since her appointment as UNCCD Drylands Ambassador in 2011. “I want all of us to agree that we will become a society free of land degradation. We need to start using our land in a sustainable way and rehabilitate more land than is being degraded.”
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Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 195 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.
The Drylands Ambassador programme raises awareness among decision makers and the public at large about the importance of combating desertification, land degradation and mitigating the effect of drought. Drylands Ambassadors also help reach target groups such as youth, children and women. Read more about the UNCCD Drylands Ambassadors here.