Message from the Ministry of Agriculture On the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification
“Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People”
This year’s World day to combat desertification shows the importance of being inclusive as we cooperate to restore and rehabilitate degraded land. It also points to the convergence of international action and landmark agreements recently adopted which recognize the links between the different global challenges of our times. Apart from land degradation, these also include biodiversity loss, climate change, food and water security, and poverty eradication. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals prominently feature the importance of land resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The Paris Agreement on climate change highlights the role of conservation and sustainable management of forests. The target of Land Degradation Neutrality recognizes the need to support ecosystem functions and services through sustainable land management and the rehabilitation of degraded land and soil.”
This statement is taken from the message of the Executive Secretary at the convention on biological diversity, Mr. Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17.
Eritrea, due to the fact that it is situated in the desert prone region of the world, must put land degradation neutrality in its frontline. Having this fact in place, the Eritrean government has rendered various integrated land reclamation activities for the last quarter a century. On May 15, 2006, a national conference, in which President of the State of Eritrea participated and gave important directives, was conducted. Subsequently, May 15, has become a national greening day. As per the conference resolutions, a massive greening campaign, aimed at rehabilitating degraded land through afforestation as well as soil and water conservation programs, was launched.
As we witness the achievements of the campaign, it is self-evident that the country is on the right track in the global effort of land degradation neutrality. This year’s world day to combat desertification was celebrated under the theme, “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.” This is definitely consistent with Eritrea’s road map that mainly focuses on community mobilization to combat desertification, land degradation and drought.
It is to be noted that the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Forest and Wildlife authority; and the Administrative regions, has been able to mobilize and lead the community to plant more than forty million seedlings.
Moreover around 300,000 hectares of enclosure area has been established thanks to the greening campaign. Additionally more than 500,000 hectares of land in Bori- Ayrori, around Red sea cost, is ready to be part of the national protected area.
Since the concept of land reclamation need to start at the grassroots level, more than 482 school based green clubs have been established. This process will continue until every school in the country establishes at least one green club. These clubs are playing an important role in raising the awareness of school children and motivate to participate in the greening campaign.
One of the biggest achievements of the campaign is distribution of improved stoves which play a vital role in reducing fire wood consumption. So far, more than 143,000 improved stoves have been distributed throughout the country. Since this kind of stove is able to cut firewood consumption by half, it will continue until every household installs one. Soil and water conservation activities at farm land and in catchments are also part of the major programs of the greening campaign.
Even though, we are on the way to achieve our goals, it is to be recalled we still have a huge assignment to approach our vision: a Green Eritrea.
The Executive secretary of the convention on biological diversity Mr. Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias concluded his message by saying; “The impacts of land degradation affect the sustainability of the entire world, thus a global effort is needed. Land resources are the very foundation upon which our societies and economies grow and prosper. By restoring and rehabilitating degraded land we contribute to achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals and the future we want.
17 June 2016