The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is far short of the resources needed to reverse the trends of desertification that the world is witnessing today, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said here on Monday.
“The resources that are available to address land degradation are not sufficient. We need public funding as well as private investment. Public funds alone will not be sufficient. It is very important that we mobilise sufficient private investors for business to take on land restoration,” he said.
He called for collective participation and investment from every sector to address the “critical issue” of land degradation.
“I am saying private investments on land in relation with the communities, and have agreements with the local populace so that those investments are not just sustainable but are mutually beneficial for everyone,” he said.
Clarifying that the engagement with the private sector does not amount to privatisation of lands, Thiaw called for a larger role for the private sector in ramping up the land restoration process and mitigating its effects, particularly for the vulnerable, rural and small-scale farmers.
He also highlighted not only the immediate, but also the inter-generational impacts of land degradation globally, and underlined the plight of children being born “whose future is not in the hands of the parents alone, but of humanity at large.”
He was speaking at the 14th edition of Conference of Parties (COP) to UNCCD, which is being hosted in India till September 13. Nearly 196 nations and 8,000 delegates are participating in the convention to reach a consensus in form of the Delhi Declaration, which will set the future course of action to achieve the land degradation targets.
Thiaw also drew attention to the recent scientific assessments that have revealed the dangers caused by the land degradation, resulting in conflicts due to the shrinking of resources. The current COP will lay the groundwork for change for the five United Nations summits to be held in New York.