Unccd: High-level event on Land Degradation held at UN Headquarters
The Permanent Missions of Qatar, Iceland and Namibia, in conjunction with the office of the President of the General Assembly, organized a High-Level Event on Land Degradation, Desertification and Drought at United Nations headquarters on Monday, 1 May 2017. The event underlined the role of Land Degradation Neutrality as an accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ambassador Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, in his opening remarks, pointed out that, on average, 12 million hectares of land is lost due to desertification and land degradation every year. "More than half of the world’s agricultural land is affected by soil degradation, and the deterioration of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares of land,” he said.
He said the impact of this loss has been devastating and “the lives and livelihoods of more than one billion people are currently under threat, with soil loss, erosion, contamination and degradation affecting food security, health, and sustainable local economic opportunities.”
Thomson drew attention to the catastrophic drought and famine that is currently endangering the lives of millions of people across Africa, which, he said, is a stark reminder of both the devastating consequences of desertification and land degradation and of how it can undermine our ability to achieve sustainable peace and development.
He urged the international community “to ensure that desertification, land degradation and drought-related are at the forefront…when it sets its shoulder to the wheel to drive the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.”