Combating desertification

Dry areas represent more than 40% of the Earth's surface, which is a significant proportion of our land. However, (we should not consider dry areas as) dry areas aren’t uninhabited, because they are home to one in three people on a global scale. CARI’s actions reach out to the rural populations of these territories, who are vulnerable in the face of increasing climatic, political and economic risks.

Desertification, what do we mean?

Scientist, the international community just as all the societies involved in this issue are considering that (For scientists and the international community, just as for society all around the world involved in the combat against desertification,) “desertification means the degradation of the land in the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid regions that are dry due to various factors, including variations in climate and human activities " This is the definition adopted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

This degradation of the land in dry zones appears as a deterioration of the vegetation cover, of soils and of water resources and leads to a reduction or a destruction of the biological potential of the land and its capacity to support the people who live there.  It is thus about a progressive disappearance of all forms of life, with the consequences that follow: food insecurity, poverty, migration…

And climate change in all that?

Climate change is now recognised and the stakes are all the higher since those ecosystems are already fragile and the people who live there must deal with many pressures.

In arid areas, the climate becoming hotter and drier. The average annual rainfall is decreasing, while the temperatures are rising. In parallel, extreme climate events are becoming more frequent and more intense. Climate predictions are for a higher frequency of droughts, heat waves and floods. Where an increase in rain fall is predicted, it would be concentrated over short periods, accentuating the risk of flooding.

Consequences for the populations

Several consequences are to be envisaged: reduction of arable surfaces and yields, competition for access to fertile grounds, shortage of natural resources, increase in territorial conflicts, abandon of traditional activities, reduction in storage capacity due to heat… and finally, migrations of populations related to the climate changes which accentuate the risks of conflicts and insecurity while restricting labour available on farms.

These are the various challenges which led CARI to devote its efforts to fight against desertification and land degradation in arid regions. By restoring land, it is possible to give life back to rural territories and to give the populations a future. To this end, and faithful to the principle of accompaniment, CARI intervenes on local, national and international scales to restore land.

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