Saturday, June 23, 2012

Anti-desertification plan gets official launch in Rio

Ochieng' Ogodo in Organisations from Africa, Brazil and France have officially launched a scientific collaboration to fight desertification in Africa. The collaboration was discussed at the Fight Against Desertification in Africa conference in Niger in October 2011. The 'Declaration of Niamey' adopted at the conference highlighted the need for interdisciplinary research in the fields of desertification, drought and land degradation, focusing on social, economic and environmental issues.

Its commitments were ratified earlier this year (March 2012), with a tripartite agreement signed at the sixth World Water Forum in Marseille, France, between Brazil's National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) of Brazil, the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) in France, and the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW), to which 11 African countries belong.

Yesterday's official launch at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), taking place this week (20–22 June), saw the presentation of the collaboration's first concrete actions based on these earlier commitments. The project's initial start-up capital is US$1.3 million, and it is funded by the three organisations equally. It is "an original initiative in that it is a South-South-North cooperation", according to the IRD.

The collaboration brings together researchers to devise programmes for tackling desertification (the process by which fertile land becomes desert), particularly in Africa's Sahel region — a belt of semi-arid grasslands, savannas and steppes stretching across northern Africa, immediately to the south of the Sahara desert...

Algerian desert - Tassili National Park, shot by magharebia, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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