First Africa Drylands Week Highlights Potential for Sustainable Development

UNCCD17 June 2011: The first "Africa Drylands Week" has concluded with a message by Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), underlining the potential of drylands for the development and sustainable growth of their populations and countries.

The Africa Drylands Week took place in Dakar, Senegal, from 10-16 June 2011, and was co-organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). The event brought together over 100 participants, including scientists, policy makers and representatives of the international and civil society organizations and community groups, who discussed ways to ensure the long-term sustainable management of forests in drylands. It provided an opportunity, through field visits in Senegal and testimonies of local populations and discussions, to highlight that efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought include improving forest and vegetation cover.

In a joint press release, the CPF underscored that the Week highlighted scientific and operational partnerships capable of reinforcing governance systems, including sustainable land management, land tenure and secured livelihoods. CPF further emphasized that under this framework, countries will be able to develop their own initiatives aimed at: addressing the effects of climate change; preventing and combating desertification; conserving biodiversity; mitigating the vulnerability of rural and urban societies; and ensuring food security for families across the Sahara and the Sahel. [UNCCD Press Release] [FAO Press Release]