Ed King in the Guardian Environment Network via Responding to Climate Change: Severe land degradation is now affecting 168 countries across the world, according to new research released by the UN Desertification Convention (UNCCD).
The figure, based on submissions from countries to the UN, is a marked increase on the last analysis in the mid-1990s, which estimated 110 states were at risk.
In an economic analysis published last week the Convention also warns land degradation is now costing US$490 billion per year and wiping out an area three times the size of Switzerland on an annual basis.
"Land degradation and drought are impeding the development of all nations in the world," UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja told RTCC.
"This is a challenge that is causing governments to take this issue seriously, but how do you get them to take it seriously? By showing them the rate of return on restoring degraded land is one of the smartest investments of our time.
He added: "Desertification, land degradation and drought is an issue of market failure. The lack of economic market valuation has led to land being perceived as a cheap resource." ...
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