|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Healthy Land Vital for Security, Political Stability, Says Secretary-General
in Message to Convention to Combat Deserfication
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s message, as delivered by Assistant Secretary-General Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, to the eleventh Conference of Parties, held in Windhoek, Namibia, on 23 September:
I am pleased to send greetings to all participating in the eleventh Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention on Desertification, and I thank Namibia for hosting. I commend the leadership of outgoing Executive Secretary, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, and welcome his successor, Ms. Monique Barbut.
You meet as Namibia faces severe drought. The United Nations system stands ready to continue to support your efforts to mitigate its effects and build resilience. Desertification and land degradation threaten the livelihoods, well-being and sustainable development of at least 1 billion people. In the drylands of Africa, climate change is already having an impact. Temperatures have risen by some 2˚C in some areas. Long periods of drought, famine and deepening poverty are impoverishing and depopulating vast areas.
Healthy land is a prerequisite for food and water security and necessary to avert political instability. We need it for climate change resilience and preserving valuable biodiversity. World leaders at Rio+20 [United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development] acknowledged the threat of desertification, land degradation and drought in all regions, and especially for developing countries. As we define the post-2015 development agenda, we need to be able to measure progress towards the commitment to halt and reverse land degradation.
We need a paradigm shift to land stewardship. We need to work with countries and local communities to protect and sustain the world’s fragile drylands and restore degraded land. This conference, under the theme “A Stronger UNCCD for a Land-Degradation Neutral World”, can make a valuable contribution in defining the way forward.
I wish you a successful meeting.
* *** *For information media • not an official record