UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for actions to reverse the downward spiral of land degradation which results in drought and other nature disasters.
“Let us act now to drought-proof our future,” the UN chief said in a message for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, Xinhua news agency reported.
He said droughts in all regions are getting more frequent and fierce, and that the well-being of hundreds of millions of people is being compromised by increasing sandstorms, wildfires, crop failures, displacement and conflict.
Guterres warned that by mid-century, three-quarters of people could be living with drought.
“Climate change bears much responsibility, but so does how we manage our land,” the UN chief said.
Half the world’s population is already coping with the consequences of land degradation, he said, noting that “we can and must reverse this downward spiral.”
“We can restore land for a fraction of what is currently being spent on environmentally harmful subsidies. Every dollar invested in restoring land can generate 30 times that much in benefits,” he said.
Guterres said that while there are success stories of land restoration, such as the Great Green Wall of the Sahel in Africa which has already restored millions of hectares of land and created thousands of jobs, “much more needs to be done.”
“Taking care of our land and its biodiversity can help address the climate crisis and assist in reaching all our Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.