World Day to Combat Desertification: FAO hosts live event

By Foster Obi

On 17 June 2020, the United Nations will mark the annual World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought with the theme, “Food.Feed.Fibre”.

To mark this day, Food and Agricultural Organisation, (FAO), Director-General, QU Dongyu, will host a virtual event, RECSOIL: Recarbonization of global soils, to promote soil organic carbon sequestration.

A statement by the FAO said, the Director-General will be joined by Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy.

According to the statement, “Agricultural production, food transportation, distribution and trade are facing new challenges, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the food security, health and livelihoods of millions of people and exposes the fragilities of our ecosystems and food systems.

“As demand increases for land to provide food, animal feed and fibre for paper, energy, clothing, and other uses, the health and productivity of existing arable land is declining, worsened by climate change.

“This international day underlines the urgent need to prevent and halt land and soil degradation, and to restore degraded ecosystems, through the sustainable management of natural resources, which is key to achieve a land-degradation neutral and food secure world.

“Globally, around 33 percent of the world’s usable lands are degraded, and over 25 billion tons of topsoil are lost annually due to soil erosion and desertification.

“We need to transform our food systems to follow sustainable production and consumption patterns that provide healthy and nutritious food while safeguarding water, land, soil and biodiversity,” it said/

It added, “FAO and its Global Soil Partnership have established RECSOIL: Recarbonization of global soils as an initiative to move the SOC agenda into action using the best tools and technologies available while being aware of the associated uncertainties.

“The upcoming International Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 led by FAO and the UN Environment Programme, provides a vehicle to accelerate our actions on the ground, to restore the world ecosystems for sustainable provision of goods and services from natural resources.

“The event will include presentations from academics and experts from the public and private sector.”