Land degradation is a common challenge across the globe, gradually contributing to decline in crop production, increase in low income levels, and even eventually climate. Land degradation is prevalent in areas where sustainable land use maintenance is low compared to land use functions and services.
In West African countries, deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices and rapid urbanization rates have been a challenge for many years. The loss of biodiversity through deforestation, land degradation and drought are a serious threat to the sustainable development of a majority of African countries.
Lack of knowledge on sustainable land management and forest biodiversity conservation, low levels of awareness by local communities, and poor land and forest resource regulations have led to increased rates of deforestation and land degradation in the region. It is against this backdrop that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Korea Forest Service came up with an initiative to help developing countries enhance their knowledge and capacity of sustainable land use practices. The initiative will help promote restoration of degraded fragile landscapes, biodiversity conservation and improve the livelihoods of local communities.
UNEP and the Korea Forest Service held a training workshop in Togo to enhance the knowledge of the participants on various ecosystem restoration approaches and best tree planting practices and species in the area. David Wonou Oladokoun, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and Nature Protection, reiterated the commitment of the Republic of Togo to combat the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems, growing desertification and biodiversity loss. He pointed out that in the fight against desertification and biodiversity loss, the restoration of fragile mountain ecosystems and conservation of its endemic biodiversity is a central step.
Participants at the forum, including the Minister, planted 100 seedlings on Atakpame mountain. Tree planting increases forest cover, hence reducing land degradation.
UNEP will continue to work with local governments to strengthen the capacity of countries to restore degraded areas and conserve biodiversity, while taking into consideration the interests of all stakeholder groups.
For more information, please contact Emmanuel.Adonsou[at]un.org.