Rural areas are not exempted from the impacts of globalisation. Global trends affecting agriculture are particularly significant in this respect. A number of options are available to developing countries in responding to these trends. Given the scarcity of resources it is important that they choose carefully. If they fail to respond, rural areas will become even more marginalized than they are already.
Dr Michael Brüntrup
Professor Dr Dirk Messner
German Development Institute - GDI
Rural Economic Development, Volume 14 No 1/2007
Desertification and natural resources, environment, and food security
If legal instruments are not fully implemented, there is a risk they remain in the domain of virtual reality and wishful thinking.The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has come a long way since it came into force in 1996, with current membership standing at 191 Parties. 2006 was a landmark year. It was the tenth anniversary of the Convention, and it was also the International Year of Deserts and Desertification (IYDD), declared by the UN General Assembly to increase awareness of this urgent global issue.While progress has been made in tackling desertification, much remains to be done.
Deputy Executive Secretary UNCCD
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment projects that the intensification of freshwater scarcity in combination with continuous water extraction from delicate dryland ecosystems is likely to exacerbate desertification, thus leading to a downward spiral of ecological deterioration and a precarious depreciation of livelihoods in many developing regions. This in turn can push people to migrate, which can have far reaching implications affecting local, regional, and even global political and economic stability.
German Development Institute (DIE)
Desertification is nowhere more serious than in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), stretching from Pakistan in the east to Morocco in the west, and from Ethiopia and Sudan in the south to Turkey in the north. Yet, many MENA countries have successfully rehabilitated large areas. Concerted efforts can indeed stop and even reverse desertification, though their long-term success will depend on how well they manage their limited water resources.
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA)
Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic
Hardest hit by desertification is Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty is more widespread, preparedness for catastrophe is lower, and means for adequately coping with the phenomenon are very weak; two thirds of the arable land will be lost by 2025.The subcontinent needs improved integrated initiatives on local, national und multinational level for a sustainable natural resources management. Environmental Information systems can increase awareness and throw light on decision making processes on the complexity of desertification badly needed by most African countries.
Dr Youba SOKONA
Secrétaire Exécutif Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel
(OSS) (Sahara and Sahel Observatory) Tunis, Tunisia
Despite ambitious desertification control programmes, the area of desertified land has expanded continuously since the establishment of the People's Republic of China, with increasingly serious impacts on important industrial and settlement areas. Only in the new millennium is a reversal of this trend in sight.
Natural Resources, People, and Development
Dr Nils Meyer
KfW Development Bank
Morocco is one of the African countries in which implementation of the UNCCD has progressed the furthest. In the Moroccan National Action Programme, integrated rural development, poverty reduction, drought mitigation and conservation of natural resources are the four cornerstones of effective desertification control.The country has succeeded in building up strong partnerships with most of its bilateral and multilateral development partners.
Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is one of the three conventions agreed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. But from the very outset it has led a marginal existence, because industrialized countries feel far less concerned with desertification than developing countries. Moreover, the Convention?s targets are not binding and are open to a variety of interpretations by the Parties.The conflicting interests of environmental and
development policy are weakening its position further.
Dr. Reinhard Bodemeyer
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German Technical Cooperation) CCD Project
In the ten years since it came into being, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has had little or no effect on the further encroachment of deserts. More than 80 countries have submitted National Action Programmes to combat desertification, but they appear to lack the financial and political commitment to implement them. What are the causes behind the UNCCD's weakness? How can the Convention be incorporated more effectively and efficiently into the architecture of international development?
Dr Christoph Kohlmeyer
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
The tsunami disaster on 26 December 2004 claimed more than 200,000 lives. It triggered an unprecedented outpouring of reconstruction assistance from both private and public donors.The prompt provision of emergency relief averted the threat of epidemics and prevented major movements of refugees out of the affected regions. However,many of the reconstruction measures failed due to poor coordination between the actors involved and the lack of expertise underlying some of the interventions.The reconstruction effort was also very slow to get off the ground.
German Agro Action Sri Lanka
German Agro Action Bonn
2005 was a year of natural disasters.The impacts of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Hurricanes Katrina and Stan, and the Pakistan earthquake prompted calls for better disaster prevention and preparedness systems. Nature's power renders us impotent, but human actions and omissions are clearly worsening the impacts of disasters in some cases.This is where risk reducing measures must lock in, as the last fifteen years of international disaster risk management show.
Development Cooperation Consultant
The devastating tsunami has shown in a tragic way the great vulnerability and exposed nature of coastal communities to natural calamities. It also has drawn global attention to the poor living conditions of fishing communities and the many threats to the sustainable use of fishery resources and coastal ecosystems. Post-tsunami rehabilitation offers the opportunity to build back better, improve and make more secure the lives of disadvantaged sections of the population and set fisheries and coastal resource use on a sustainable footing.
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Post-tsunami reconstruction has been under way in the Indonesian province of Aceh for nearly two years. In the authors' view, swift coordination of goals and instruments has enabled positive synergies to be created between short-term development-oriented emergency aid and long-term recovery. In this way, and by means of a conflict-sensitive approach, the aim is to guarantee the sustainability of the reconstruction effort.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW development bank)
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
People-centred early warning systems empower communities to prepare for and confront the power of natural hazards. However, the efficiency of such systems is to be measured in terms of lives saved and reduction in losses, which is directly related to the execution of an anticipated response by the people and institutions once a warning is issued.This paper addresses traditional views on early warning systems, and what it takes to transform them into efficient, people-centred systems.
Juan CarlosVillagrande León and Janos Bogardi
United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security
Stefanie Dannenmann andReid Basher
Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning (UN/ISDR)
The series of dramatic natural events is never ending. 2005 again illustrated that natural disasters are unavoidable. For disaster prevention systems to function properly, investments in raising risk awareness are key.
Munich Re Foundation - From Knowledge to Action
Two images have dominated the northern media in recent months.The first is of desolation in remote, rural areas in Africa affected by drought, conflict or famine, such as in Somalia, northern Kenya or Darfur, Sudan. The second is a different kind of desolation - that of urban squalor as portrayed in the film «The Constant Gardener». Nairobi's Kibera, which provides a backdrop for the film, is a bustling shantytown with a population of ca. 800,000 people on 250 hectares.The contrast between this and the images from the dry north, with their miles of empty barrenness, could not be greater.
Department for International Development
London, United Kingdom
The rural areas of the South have undergone vital socio-economic and technological changes marked by globalisation, economic liberalization and political decentralization and by the information and communication sector. Will these changes suffice to improve the living standards of the rural population and lessen the urban-rural gap or will the rural sector remain in isolation and be also in ten years time home of the poor?
Asmara - Eritrea
More than 70 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas.The World Bank's approach to rural development is holistic and multisectoral, focused on improving the wellbeing of rural people by building their productive, social, and environmental assets. The author of this article explores what this means in the longer term horizon of beyond 2015.
Director, The World Bank Agricultural and Rural Development Department
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Few aspects of development policy are better furnished with empirical evidence than the interplay between support for agriculture in the context of rural development and the reduction of poverty and hunger. It is therefore surprising that German Development Cooperation has today largely disengaged from activities in this area: Despite the evidence that practically nothing is more effective and sustainable than combating poverty where it is most often found, namely in the rural areas of poor countries,we fail to take that route.
Dr Christoph Kohlmeyer
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)