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Sustainable development of drylands and combating desertification

FAO position paper

Rome, 1993

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

(c) FAO 1993

"Land cannot be reclaimed or conserved through sporadic efforts or short-term projects; what are needed are long-term programmes, backed by sound land-use policies, and strategies to catalyse their development. To succeed, these programmes must be founded on the concept of participation; ultimately, African land can be conserved and rehabilitated only by those who make their living from it."

Edouard Saouma


Definition and general approach to the problem

How to define desertification
What lands and areas are prone to desertification?
What are the main causes of desertification?
What are the main consequences of desertification?

Understanding, monitoring and forecasting the processes of desertification

Assessment and monitoring of desertification processes
Strengthening basic knowledge of desertification processes

Strategy for combating desertification (and drought)

Guiding principles
Strategic objectives and components
Operational implementation

FAO's responsibilities and contributions to the fight against desertification

Past activities (1977-1992)
UNCED preparation and FAO follow-up

International cooperative programme framework for sustainable agriculture and rural development (ICPF/SARD)

Creation of a general policy framework
Action plan: areas for concentrating efforts


Chapter 12 of Agenda 21: analysis and comments

List of figures

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