Botswana: Reversing Land Degradation Attainable

Gaborone — Reversing of land degradation is achievable through problem solving, strong community involvement and cooperation, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng has said.

Speaking at commemoration of desertification and drought day in Gaborone on Thursday, she said the day was incepted to underscore that desertification as well as drought could be tackled and solutions were possible.

Ms Kereng highlighted that countries had acknowledged that desertification and drought were global problems affecting all, therefore joint action by international community was needed.

In Botswana, she said, land degradation could be attributed to excessive and indiscriminate cutting of tress, overgrazing, veld fires, over exploitation of forest and land resources as well as expansion of human settlements.

The minister said the theme: Restoration Land, Recovery. We Build Back Better with Healthy Land 'places emphasis on turning degraded land into healthy land, restoring degraded land to bring economic resilience, creating jobs, raising incomes and increasing food security'.

"It locks away the atmospheric carbon warming the earth, thus slowing climate change. It can also lessen the impacts of climate change and underpin a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," she said

Since ratifying the convention, Ms Kereng noted that Botswana had made efforts to domesticate and implement United Nations Convection to Combat Desertification Convention.

She said a revised National Action Programme developed in the context of managing desertification, land degradation and drought, was in place to ensure that people participate in programmes to combat desertification.

"As a specific tool to implement the objectives of the United Nations Convection on combating desertification, the National Action Programme reflects cross-cutting nature of DLDD at the national level across economic sectors and identifies local hotspots. The programme also presents strategy for desertification, land degradation and drought prevention and mitigation. It provides an outline of past and future actions, identified through a participatory process," Minister Kereng said

United Nations executive secretary, Mr Ibrahim Thiaw, said humanity was dependent on the natural land.

He said people had transformed nearly three quarters of the earth's land to meet demand for food, raw material and homes, the situation he said was not sustainable because it put pressure on land.

"Climate change, rapid urbanisation and economic growth are all causing land degradation. Today three billion people almost half of the world population are directly and indirectly affected by land degradation and we must now reverse land degradation," he said.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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