UN: Restoration of ecosystems would reduce climate change disasters

(Photo - internet)17 June 2014 – Marking the World Day to Combat Desertification, United Nations officials today emphasized the importance of restoring degrading lands to avoid or soften the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change.

“Land degradation, caused or exacerbated by climate change, is not only a danger to livelihoods, but also a threat to peace and stability,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the World Day, observed annually on 17 June.

He noted that recovering land that is degrading would have multiple benefits. “We can avert the worst effects of climate change, produce more food and ease competition over resources. We can preserve vital ecosystem services, such as water retention, which protects us from floods or droughts,” he stated.

The theme of this year’s World Day is “Land belongs to the future, let’s climate-proof it.” Studies show that 24 billion tons of fertile soil is being eroded each year, and 2 billion hectares of degraded land have potential for recovery and restoration.

The UNCCD is holding a global observance today at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. with high-level participation. Many countries are also celebrating national events to mark the World Day, while several will name their Dryland Champions, local heroes who have made a significant practical contribution to sustainable land management.

Source: UN News Centre (prepared by: Mateja Robnik)

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