The World Day to Combat Desertification is observed every year since 1995 on 17th June. The day aims to promote public engagement and awareness towards combating desertification and drought. Desertification is a global challenge that refers to persistent degradation of dry land ecosystems due to human activities. Reasons for desertification is our unsustainable practices and climate change. Some of the activities that includes unsustainable farming, mining, overgrazing and clear-cutting of land have led to situation that every year 12 million hectares are lost.
Fiinovation understands that desertification has serious ramifications on global biodiversity. It is estimated that 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by degradation of land. The phenomena threatens eco-safety, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability and sustainable development. Out of 2 billion people dependent on dryland ecosystems, 90 per cent live in developing countries. If the rural land looses its ability to support the local population, there can be large scale migration to urban areas.
India is currently facing a severe drought and this has definitely resulted in large scale migration. In order to address the issue, the nation has increased its efforts towards combating soil degradation and droughts. It further needs to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and mitigate effects of the drought in the drylands. Fiinovation comprehends that there is a need for increasing green cover of the country through reforestation and tree regeneration. The trees hold the soil and prevent them from degradation. Similarly, it is important for us to tackle the water crisis and become less dependent on monsoons. Both plantation and water management is required to address the issue.
Heavy investments will be required for management of water. Although certain companies along with the government is working towards water conservation in India, not much has been done so far. If we don’t invest in sustainable development now then land degradation can reduce food productivity and also lead to increase in food prices. The transition from traditional practices to sustainable climate smart agriculture will help alleviate poverty and generate employment. Fiinovation urges the companies to invest their CSR funds towards land and water management and sustainable agriculture, thereby promoting inclusive development.
Let us hope that cooperation from all stakeholders will help achieve land degradation neutrality as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
By – Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation