Environmentally friendly Saudi initiatives provide the world with sustainable solutions to combat desertification Environmentally friendly Saudi initiatives provide the world with sustainable solutions to combat desertification

Environmentally friendly Saudi initiatives provide the world with sustainable solutions to combat desertification

Environmentally friendly Saudi initiatives provide the world with sustainable solutions to combat desertification

On World Day to Combat Desertification, officials from the United Nations and Saudi Arabia and environmental experts stressed the importance of supporting the field of sustainable land management and increasing investments to confront global challenges.

This came against the backdrop of the ceremony on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2024, hosted by the Government of Germany, on June 17 in Bonn, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), under the slogan “United for the Earth: Our Legacy and Our Future.”

On this year's World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, officials from the United Nations, Saudi Arabia, and environmental experts stressed the importance of supporting innovation in the field of sustainable land management and increasing investments in land rehabilitation to confront the global challenges that threaten the planet in several food, economic, and security sectors.

Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Ibrahim Thiaw, emphasized the importance of this year’s Desertification and Drought Day, saying: “As we gather in Bonn, Germany, and around the world to commemorate this occasion, we are also celebrating a major achievement this year: the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.” Desertification.

Thiaw added: “This year, we focus on sharing the wisdom of our ancestors with future generations. More than one billion young people under the age of 25 in developing countries depend on land and natural resources, and they are key to transforming their societies and driving innovation in sustainable land management.”

In turn, Dr. Osama Faqiha, Undersecretary for the Environment, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, noted the Kingdom’s commitment to sustainable land management, noting that “desertification, land degradation and drought are among the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, and that this affects the degradation of about 40% of The world's land area means losing 100 million hectares of healthy land annually, which is equivalent to the area of ​​four football fields every second, due to land degradation.

He added: “Healthy lands are essential for our future. Let us unite for sustainable land management.”

Fakiha said: “Saudi Arabia has launched global initiatives to combat desertification and drought, most notably the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives and various land reclamation projects, as ideal models of sustainable development.”
He explained, "The Kingdom's efforts not only contribute to environmental sustainability, but also aim to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for communities."

The World Celebration in Bonn brought together leaders from government, academia and civil society, along with a generation of young people concerned about the environment, who have great hopes for rehabilitating lands and enhancing their ability to withstand drought, in addition to their ability to develop sustainable agricultural projects and benefit from technology and innovation to meet challenges. Global environmental.

The most important features of the celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification included the presentation of the new group of “Land Champions”, which came as one of the outcomes of the strategy of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, through which a young generation will be able to contribute to sustainable land management and participate in policy-making processes, in preparation for the negotiations of the Conference of the Parties. The upcoming 16th UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, scheduled to take place from 2 to 13 December 2024.

The event also highlighted the important economic benefits of investing in land reclamation. For every dollar invested, up to $30 in interest can be achieved. This is critical as land degradation and drought jeopardize global food supplies, increase the risk of natural disasters, and drive conflict and forced migration.

Given that a quarter of the world's rural youth (187 million out of a total of 778 million) live in areas with high agricultural and commercial potential, targeted development in these areas is essential. Engaging youth in food systems transformation and land rehabilitation is expected to help create 600 million jobs by 2030.

The celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought succeeded in emphasizing the urgent need for collective action in the field of land management, as it conveyed the message that healthy lands are essential for global prosperity and stability.

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