Near East and North Africa Land and water days 2019

Halting land degradation

The degradation of natural resources, especially where agriculture is practiced, is a tangible threat in all countries of the region and continues to constitute a significant limitation in the ability to produce sufficient food and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger. In most countries, water and wind erosion, salinization, loss of vegetation cover, physical degradation of soils are key threats to the soil’s capacity to provide ecosystem services. Moreover, the expansion of agriculture into marginal lands has put further pressure on already degraded soils.

The cross-cutting dimensions of soil management related to desertification, climate change, ecosystem services and biodiversity can only be addressed through dialogues and knowledge sharing across regional networks and collaborative processes, such as those initiated by the Near East and North Africa Soil Partnership. Sharing of data, soil maps, and information is a key priority to halt land degradation as is the need to encourage investments on the promotion of Sustainable Soil Management.

Under this Theme, the conference will therefore focus on technologies and approaches to sustainable and integrated land management that have been successfully applied to reduce and revert land degradation, and that can help countries to achieve their targets on Land Degradation Neutrality and the priorities of the NENA Soil Partnership. Special attention will be given to regional hotspots such as salt-affected soils and lands prone to wind erosion. Successful experiences on managing oasis ecosystems will be showcased, featuring traditional practices which sustain soil productivity. Another focus will be on data and information management systems and on monitoring land degradation in the framework of the SDGs.