Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Turkey Pledges 5 Million dollars aid to fight desertification in AFRICA

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame

Veysel Eroğlu
ANKARA, Turkey (PAMACC NEWS) – The minister Forestry and Water Affairs, Veysel Eroğlu has announced his country’s pledge of $5 million in aid to African countries to combat desertification, increase food production and fight malnutrition. 

He also announced Turkey’s plans to make a foundation for an international fund for anti-desertification works to other affected countries.

This announcement was made at the opening of the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification COP 12, opened on Monday 12 Ankara- Turkey.

Through his ministry and a state-run development agency, the country also plans to help 1.6 million people in Africa who have limited access to water resources find a lasting solution.

The conference is being attended by elegates from 195 countries with discussions focusing on desertification and erosion and innovative ways to tackle land degradation mainly stemming from climate change in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas.

According to UNCCD, desertification threatens millions of people in several countries and in its ongoing state, can drive more people to displacement, especially at a time of an escalated refugee flow into Europe from conflict-ridden countries.

The phenomenon affects more than 250 million people in the world. A further 1.2 billion people in 110 countries are under threat from desertification.

The minister noted that some 4.2 million hectares of land were converted back to arable land and 900 million hectares of forests were planted in Turkey by 2014.

About 500,000 hectares of land turn into deserts every year due to poor irrigation.

Officials say Turkey is among the countries affected by the increase in non-arable lands and climate change as it sits in a geographically challenging location sandwiched between different climates and under threat from climate change. More than half of Turkish soil has the characteristics of arid, semi-arid and semi-humid climates.

Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary noted that the COP session taking place at a critical moment in global decision-making and when the momentum is on achieving the sustainable development goals.

“The contribution of Turkey for COP12 and the early preparations the Government has undertaking reflect not just Turkey’s commitment to combat desertification, but it’s readiness to ensure successful outcomes,” said Ms Barbut

At a session on sharing key knowledge, participants emphasized on the need for information sharing and best practices experiences in the fight against desertification. Understanding, adapting to and monitoring the interactions between climate change and land degradation requires the integration of many types of knowledge, from specific to generalized, informal to formal, novice to expert, implicit to explicit, empirical to scientific they noted.

 Pooling knowledge from different sources can help understand the processes involved, to explore the likely response options and to effectively monitor the effects of land degradation and climate change and adaptation options. It can also be useful in identifying where new research is needed to fill knowledge gaps and complement locally-held knowledge, it was concluded.

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