Future Policy Award 2017: Celebrating best policies to combat desertification
We must not let our future dry out! These seven laws and policies demonstrate that land restoration can be a reality. They work towards a land degradation-neutral world as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goal 15, and tackle desertification, one of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Desertification and land degradation are a threat to food security, livelihoods and health of hundreds of millions of people. It is estimated that 135 million people are at risk of being displaced by desertification, and drylands are the most conflict-prone regions of the world. Climate change, and the increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather in arid lands, makes combating desertification even more vital.
In partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the 2017 Future Policy Award highlights laws and policies that effectively address land and soil degradation, and the related risks to food security and livelihoods, and help secure a sustainable and just future for people living in the world’s drylands.
Ethiopia, Tigray Region: Conservation-Based Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization (1994), supported by Mass Mobilization Campaigns (1991) and the Youth Responsive Land Policy (2008)
The Tigray region’s interpretation of Ethiopia’s development strategy focuses on food self-sufficiency and economic growth by conserving land and promoting sustainable agriculture. Thanks to a unique combination of collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of youth, the people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale.
Brazil: Cistern Programme (2003, enshrined into law in 2013)
This programme is a participative,bottom-up way to provide water for consumption and for growing food and keeping livestock in Brazil’s drought prone Semiarid region using simple rainwater collection technology. It empowers millions of the region’s poorest people to be in control of their own needs, to generate income and enhance their food security.
China: Law on Prevention and Control of Desertification (2002)
This is the world’s first integrated law dedicated to combating desertification. It provides a framework for China’s National Action Programme and a host of projects aimed at rehabilitating land at risk. Over the last 15 years, China has reversed the trend of desertification. It is no coincidence that the country lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty during the same period.
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