Ankara, Jun 17 : With increasing urbanisation and indiscriminate expansion of cultivated land, the threat of desertification has loomed large over 169 countries, including India, said the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres through a video message, on World Day to Combat Desertification on Monday.
"Protecting and restoring land and it's better use can stop forced migration, improve food security and spur economic growth. It can help to put global climate emergency at rest," Mr Guterres said.
"I appeal to the world to come together to control desertification," he said, adding that the developing countries were losing eight percent of their GDP due to dry land.
According to UN data, out of 197 parties on the convention, 169 are affected by desertification.
Monday's event marked the 25th anniversary of UNCCD. Apart from Turkey, ministers from 10 countries were present in the function.
Conference of Parties on UNCCD is to take place in Delhi, India early this September.
"Our choices have an impact that ripples across incredibly complex and connected lifecycles. Right now, that impact is damaging the health of our planet and ourselves. Only 20pc of the planet is habitable, yet within our own lifetimes one out of every four hectares of productive land has become unusable, three out of every four hectares have been altered from their natural state, and while agriculture drives that change, we waste a third of the food. So, how are we going to Increase food production by 50 per cent required to feed the world population by 2050," said Mr Abrahim Thiaw, executive secretary, UNCCD.
Combining more traditional knowledge, faith communities and technology in that way that could restore 150 million hectares of farmland by 2030, Generating up to $40 billion in extra income for smallholders, Feeding another 200 million people And sinking several gigatons of carbon dioxide, he said.
Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, called for collective efforts. He said that the world was dealing with sea, ocean and surface water protection.
"Fighting desertification is possible only when we work collectively. This is necessary to ensure that our next generation lives in the greener world, he added addressing the event through video message.
Turkish minister of agriculture, Dr Bekir Pakdemirli, termed desertification as a danger, "which is making our land unusable."
He talked about Turkey's measures against soil erosion and desertification.
"Desertification has no boundaries," he pointed out while offering to share Turkey's experience with other countries. (UNI)