In the Jenipapo community, in the north-east region of the Caatinga Biome in Brazil, farmer Fátima Maria dos Santos runs her farm. Fátima is applying the principles of agroecology on her farm by having a cistern that collects rainwater, retaining native vegetation and developing an agroforestry system that comprises of native and fruit trees and crops and medical plants. Fátima is also one of the first farmers to be part of the 'Caderneta Agroecológica' or 'Agroecological Logbook' initiative, that stimulates women farmers to monitor their food production. This way, they get more insights about the value of production for the family, about monetary and non-monetary benefits and the preservation of soil health and biodiversity.
For decades, the local partner organisations of Both ENDS have been developing and promoting ways to fight land degradation, desertification and drought in their surroundings. And this accounts not only for regions like the Sahel, but also for forests and wetlands. To celebrate the UNCCD's Desertification and Drought Day 2023, we'd like to show a few examples of how our partners restore ecosystems to serve the well-being of people and the environment.
Even a region like the South American La Plata Basin, known for it's majestic rivers and wetlands, is struggling with drought. A group of organisations united in the Wetlands without Borders network strive to turn the tide.
Koussanar, in eastern Senegal, is a small town that is expanding rapidly, surrounded by villages still rooted in rural and nomadic life. The region is hot and dry, which is exacerbated by climate change. The soil in the region is also dry and often exhausted due to a combination of factors such as unsustainable agricultural practices, (peanut) monoculture, intensive agriculture, forest fires and overgrazing. Today, however, the region's farmers and nomadic pastoralists take a different approach. They are working towards a better future by committing to the restoration of degraded land using Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).
Today is World Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Day. Such a day is more than needed to get attention for desertification, land degradation and drought that are threatening and hitting hundreds of millions of people in many regions throughout the world. While the causes - such as large-scale agriculture, use of pesticides, water extraction and climate change - are clear and need to be stopped, it is just as important to focus on solutions like restoration and sustainable land use.– in line with World Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Day's theme for this year: 'Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land', we will therefore especially focus on inspiring solutions during the next few weeks.
Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people live in areas where the soil is depleted; often they are forced to, or the region they have been living in for generations has become increasingly arid over time. The desert is advancing and this is a global problem. Opinions about the causes of land degradation and desertification, but especially about the solutions, are very divided. To discuss this, the biennial global conference on desertification will take place from 2 to 14 September. This is where policymakers, scientists, NGOs, female and male farmers and pastoralist, herders and companies from all over the world come together. Our colleague Nathalie van Haren is present at the conference and explains why.
Recently the third scientific meeting of the UNCCD took place in Cancun, Mexico. This conference aims to bring scientists, policy makers and NGOs together to fight against drought, land degradation and desertification. Nathalie van Haren of Both ENDS was there as one of the few official representatives of NGOs. At the closing session she presented a statement that had been drawn up together with the other civil society organisations present.
From May 9 to 20, the 15th Conference of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (UNCCD COP15) will take place in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Governments, policymakers, civil society organisations and scientists from countries all over the world will discuss the problems around drought, land degradation and desertification that are increasing. Colleagues Nathalie van Haren and Stefan Schüller will be there, as will a large number of representatives of organisations with which Both ENDS has been working together for decades. But what is the purpose of the meeting, what is discussed and why is it important to be present? We asked Nathalie and Stefan.
It sounds so logical: patents and other intellectual property rights protect investments in innovations, allowing more innovations to be made from which the whole world can benefit. Such as new medicines or drought-resistant crops. But in practice, these property rights often have the opposite effect, hindering access to innovations for those who need them the most.