Expo2015, the GDA launches an appeal against desertification

Date September 14, 2015

Many distinguished partners participated in the panel promoted by the Qatar Pavilion to address the imminent risks of climate change.

“The impact of climate change is arising now and we have to address it together”, stated Ambassador Bader Omar Al Dafa, Executive Director, Global Dryland Alliance (GDA), taking the Expo stage to launch an appeal to face the effects of desertification.

The panel discussion Desertification and Food Security: risks and opportunities, held yesterday at Expo Milano and organized by the GDA in partnership with global associations, was the occasion to draw the attention of the public to one of the main issues of contemporary society. Desertification, or “degradation of drylands”, affects over one third of the world’s population - 2 billion people - and the 40% of the Earth’s land surface.

The figures provide a clear scenario of the threats the planet is facing: drylands include 50% of livestock worldwide, represent 44% of arable lands and have 46% of the globe’s carbon reserve. What probably is less known is that 52 countries worldwide are considered as drylands, among which Australia, China, Russia, the United States and Kazakhstan are the largest.

Aggravated by the climate change, the impact of desertification has already been arising all over the world: increase in natural disasters, food insecurity, forced migration and political instability are the imminent effects of the phenomenon. In particular, within 25 years the food production is expected to decrease by 12% and the food prices to grow by 30% worldwide.

Born to establish an international organization to address this urgent challenge, the GDA has the aim to contribute to the stability and peace of the planet. “To take immediate actions is a priority to prevent these risks: We must act now and act together so that solutions enhance one another”, adds Ambassador Bader Al Dafa.

Given these risks, the panel focused on highlighting the opportunities: “The phenomenon is not irreversible”, stated Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Program (WFP). “A solution exists and it is to be found in crisis prevention, risks management, investments in research and technology transfer. Successful programs are demonstrating that a multilateral and collaborative approach is really able to face these challenges when they come.”