The 2006 International Year on Deserts and Desertification provided an opportunity for the international community to better focus on an issue that represents an ongoing and creeping disaster: the loss of soil and fertile land. The International Geneva Symposium organized in April 2006 by Switzerland on the question of desertification, poverty and human rights highlighted the necessity of protecting land and soil to achieve the MDGs and protect human rights. Since then, the latest reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC that projects patterns of natural resources scarcity under scenarios of climate change grimly remind us that handling such issues with benign neglect shall no longer suffice. This was fully recognized by the 8th session of the Conference of Parties of the UNCCD which adopted in Madrid in September 2007 a forward looking 10 Year Strategy.
Despite real advances in Cameroon and African Countries there has been little progress overall in reducing the number of victims of climate change and desertification leading to several consequences as food and water insecurity, migrations, unemployment and conflicts with negative impact on human health.
The number of people suffering from hunger has increased every year since 1996, despite government commitments to halve hunger in international summits for food. Every five seconds, a child under 10 dies from hunger and malnutrition-related diseases.
Half of hungry people therefore depend for their survival on lands which are inherently poor and which may be becoming less fertile and less productive as a result of the impacts of repeated droughts, climate change and unsustainable land use. In Africa as in many regions of Cameroon a lot of productive lands are dryland. An important part of the population is predominantly rural, poor and more frequently subject to food crises. In some part of Cameroon and Africa, the overwhelming majority of the poor live in rural areas and poverty is deepest in the low rainfall areas. Land degradation also causes migration and intensifies conflict over resources, particularly between pastoral and farming communities.
Many of the ongoing conflicts and food crises are the result of the impact of serious drought, desertification and land degradation and rising conflict over deteriorating resources. In arid regions around, as the land becomes as hard as concrete and the wells dry up, thousands of families are forced to leave their villages. Deprived of their lands and their subsistence, families suffer from permanent unemployment, hunger and desperation. It is now estimated that there are thousands of “ecological refugees” or “environmental migrants” in Cameroun and millions in Africa. “Ecological refugees” or “environmental migrants” understood as people who have been forced to flee from their lands as a result of natural disasters, including floods, drought and desertification, and end up struggling to survive in the slums of the world’s megacities.
Desertification is a silent, invisible crisis that is destabilizing communities. As the effects of climate change undermine livelihoods, inter-ethnic clashes are breaking out within and across states and fragile states are turning to militarization to control the situation. The effects of desertification are increasingly felt globally as victims turn into refugees, internally displaced people and forced migrants or they turn to radicalization, extremism or resource-driven wars for survival. Local conflicts over water or land turned into civil wars, sexual violence or genocide
Land degradation in our countries is a problem that affects not only the drylands. About one third of all agricultural land is either highly or moderately degraded. If drylands are more vulnerable to natural and human destruction due to the small water containment in soil.
More than 50% of the lands under agriculture are degraded. Millions hectares of productive land become barren each year due to desertification and drought alone. This constitutes a lost opportunity to produce a lot of tons of food. Agricultural yields are falling because of unchanged bad production practices.
Deforestation, chemical pollution and inappropriate land management which is compounded by recurrent severe droughts, lead to declining ground water supplies impacting agriculture, fishing and lead to disasters affecting the most women, youth, children, indigenous people and their communities and their business. Most African countries don’t have a national drought policy.
The Program will contribute to (i) achieving the objectives of the Convention and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular regarding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 and target 15.3: “by 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world” and other interrelated SDGs, within the scope of the Convention; (ii) improving the living conditions of affected populations; and (iii) enhancing ecosystems services.
PROGRAM IDEAS AND VALUES
This program is based on two major ideas:
- Human beings in affected or threatened areas are at the center of concerns to combat desertification/land degradation, and mitigate the effects of drought and climate change.
- Desertification/land degradation, drought and Climate Change, are problems of global dimension and joint action of the international community is needed to combat desertification/land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought and climate change.
To give a concrete meaning to these ideas, three principles are the core of this program:
- First, African States have the primary role in combating desertification/land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought and climate change.
- Second, it is essential to ensure the participation of NGOs, CSO, farmers, women, Scientifics community, youth and children, Indigenous Peoples and their communities, business and industry, workers and trade unions in the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of national and local programs
- Third, developed States must actively support, individually or jointly, the efforts of African developing and least developing countries, to combat desertification/land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought and climate change.
Living conditions are improved thanks to multi actors’ participation in environmental/ land management to avoid, minimize, and reverse desertification/land degradation, and mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels to achieve a land degradation-neutral world consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Africa.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTED IMPACT
The following “strategic objectives” will guide the actions of ANYL4PSD in the period 2018–2030. Meeting these long-term objectives will contribute to achieving the above-mentioned vision
Strategic objective 1: To improve the condition of affected ecosystems, combat desertification/land degradation, promote sustainable land management and contribute to land degradation neutrality
Expected impact 1.1: Land productivity and related ecosystems services are maintained or enhanced.
Expected impact 1.2: The vulnerability of affected ecosystems is reduced and the resilience of ecosystems is increased.
Expected impact 1.3: National voluntary land degradation neutrality targets are set and adopted by countries wishing to do so, related measures are identified and implemented, and necessary monitoring systems are established.
Expected impact 1.4: Measures for sustainable land management and the combating of desertification/land degradation are shared, promoted and implemented. Strategic objective 2: To improve the living conditions of affected populations.
Strategic objective 2: To improve the living conditions of affected populations
Expected impact 2.1: Food security and adequate access to water for people in affected areas is improved.
Expected impact 2.2: The livelihoods of people in affected areas are improved and diversified.
Expected impact 2.3: Local people, especially women and youth, are empowered and participate in decision-making processes in combating DLDD.
Expected impact 2.4: Migration forced by desertification and land degradation is substantially reduced.
Strategic objective 3: To mitigate, adapt to, and manage the effects of drought in order to enhance resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems
Expected impact 3.1: Ecosystems’ vulnerability to drought is reduced, including through sustainable land and water management practices.
Expected impact 3.2: Communities’ resilience to drought is increased.
Strategic objective 4: To generate global environmental benefits through effective implementation of the UNCCD
Expected impact 4.1: Sustainable land management and the combating of desertification/land degradation contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and addressing climate change.
Expected impact 4.2: Synergies with other multilateral environmental agreements and processes are enhanced.
Strategic objective 5: To mobilize substantial and additional financial and non-financial resources to support the implementation of the Convention by building effective partnerships at global and national level
Expected impact 5.1: Adequate and timely public and private financial resources are further mobilized and made available to affected country Parties, including through domestic resource mobilization.
Expected impact 5.2: International support is provided for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building and “on-the-ground interventions” in affected areas to support the implementation of the Convention, including through North–South, South– South and triangular cooperation.
Expected impact 5.3: Extensive efforts are implemented to promote technology transfer, especially on favorable terms and including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, and to mobilize other non-financial resources.
The Program will be implemented through actions at national or sub-regional levels with the support of partners in accordance with national priorities and in a spirit of international solidarity and partnership including public–private partnerships, and innovative agreements. This program (that activities will consist in advocacy, awareness raising, education, capacity building, research and studies) intents:
With respect to financial and non-financial resources:
- Increase mobilization of financial and non-financial resources for the implementation of the Convention from international and domestic, public and private sources as well as from local communities, including non-traditional funding sources, and climate finance;
- Take advantage of the opportunity to use land degradation neutrality as a framework to enhance the coherence, effectiveness and multiple benefits of investments;
- To improve the use of existing and/or innovative financial processes and institutions;
With respect to policy and planning:
- influence the Development, implementation, revision and regularly monitoring, as appropriate, national, sub regional and regional action programs and/or plans as effective tools to combat desertification/DLDD and mitigate the effects of drought;
- influence the establishment of policies and enabling environments for promoting and implementing solutions to combat desertification/land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought, including prevention, relief and recovery;
- contribute to lever synergies and integrate DLDD, while optimizing efficacy and eliminating duplication of efforts, into (i) national plans related to the other multilateral environmental agreements, in particular the other Rio conventions; and (ii) other international commitments as appropriate, within their respective mandates;
- Mainstream DLDD as appropriate into economic, environmental and social policies, with a view to increasing the impact and effectiveness of the implementation of the UNCCD Convention;
- influence the establishment of national policies, measures and governance for drought preparedness and management, including drought contingency plans, according to the mandate of the Convention;
With respect to actions on the ground:
- To support the creation of enabling environments for promoting solutions to combat desertification/DLDD and mitigate the effects of drought.
- Develop scientific and technical knowledge pertaining to DLDD and mitigation of the effects of drought
- Identify and address capacity-building needs to prevent and reverse desertification/ DLDD and mitigate the effects of drought;
- contribute to the development and Implementation of sustainable land management practices;
- Implement restoration and rehabilitation practices in order to assist with the recovery of ecosystem functions and services;
- Develop and operationalize drought risk management, monitoring and early warning systems and safety-net programs, as appropriate;
- Promote alternative livelihoods;
- Establish systems for sharing information and knowledge and facilitate networking on best practices and approaches to drought management.