UNCCD Highlights Links between Land Degradation and Agriculture on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought


17 June 2008: The UN

Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) selected “Combating land

degradation for sustainable agriculture” as the theme for 2008 World Day to

Combat Desertification and Drought, celebrated on 17 June. On the occasion,

UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja highlighted that the conversion of land

to “unsustainable uses can exacerbate the vicious circle of land degradation,

loss of biodiversity and climate change.”

He emphasized the need for “a

global response to increase the productivity of land ecosystems and make

sustainable agricultural production a priority through pro-poor policies in

view of adaptation to climate change and biodiversity protection.” He also

stressed the role that science and technology play in combating land, including

through developing “guidelines and standards for alternative uses of

agricultural goods and services, such as for biofuel production,” and

integrating scientific research with “proven policies and strategies aimed at

sustainable development, market-oriented mechanisms and appropriate



In his message to mark the

day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that increasing demand for

agriculture production is pressing “more and more of the good land…into

service, without proper attention to conservation, and poor farmers and

pastoralists are forced onto marginal land.” He emphasized that the UNCCD

offers the sole international legal framework to reclaim dry and degraded land,

and suggested that “these unused lands could also serve for biofuel production,

and thus offer new benefits for their inhabitants.” [UNCCD Press Release]


Secretary-General's message]