“No country is safe from drought anymore, we will increasingly live in areas with water shortages,” affirms The report Drought in Numbers (link in English) published on 11 May 2022 by the United Nations Convention on Desertification (UNCCD). A report that should feed the debates of the Conference (COP15) against desertification and land degradation which began on May 9 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Climate emergency

While “40% of the land in the world today is degraded”, it is “respond to the climate emergency (and) to take concrete action in the face of rapid land degradation”, says the report of the UNCCD that “everywhere in the world, the land is drying up, the soil is losing its fertility and turning to dust”. In 2022, 2.3 billion people are facing water stress.

“Our summit is being held in a context of climate emergency which is having a severe impact on our land management policies and exacerbating the phenomenon of drought”said Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara at the opening of COP15.

“The Conference will pay particular attention to the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030, the sustainability of land use in the face of the impacts of climate change and the fight against the increase in disaster risks. such as droughts, sand and dust storms and wildfires.”

The UNCCD report


Drought in number

From 1998 to 2017, droughts caused global economic losses of approximately $124 billion. By 2030, it is estimated that 700 million people are at risk of being displaced by the phenomenon.

“We are at the crossroadssays Ibrahim Thiaw, secretary of the UNCCD. We need to move towards the solutions rather than continuing with destructive actions. And no longer believe that a change at the margin can cure a systemic failure.” And to add: “One of the most comprehensive solutions is land restoration, meaning re-establishing water cycles and addressing the loss of soil fertility. We need to build and rebuild our landscapes better, mimicking nature as much as possible and creating functioning ecological systems.”

The Great Green Wall

This includes sustainable and efficient agricultural management techniques that produce more food on less land and with less water.

At the opening of the conference, Alassane Ouattara presented a major program aimed at mobilizing 1.5 billion dollars over five years to restore “degraded forest ecosystems in Côte d’Ivoire” and promote “sustainable soil management approaches”.

Like many African countries, Côte d’Ivoire is primarily affected by desertification: its forest area has decreased by 80% since 1900, from 16 million hectares to 2.9 million in 2021.

The question of the Great Green Wall, which aims to restore one hundred million hectares of arid lands in Africa by 2030 on a strip of 8,000 kilometers from Senegal to Djibouti, should be addressed during the work which is ending May 20.


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