Lasting peace in drylands means addressing climate, conflict and land degradation
Forestry discussion paper launched at UN Food Systems Summit in New York
24 September 2021, New York – Addressing climate change, land degradation and conflict in humanitarian interventions can lead to ‘game-changing’ solutions for dryland ecosystems and their communities, according to a new discussion paper launched today at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in New York.
The paper, Deploying a humanitarian-development-peace nexus approach: Exploring, strengthening and reviving dryland ecosystems, is jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and CARE International.
"In peacekeeping or humanitarian interventions, attention tends to focus on short-term human security and protecting people from violence," said FAO Forestry Officer Fidaa F. Haddad. "However, integrating measures to improve food and nutrition security and climate change adaptation in these interventions helps to avoid further conflict and ensure longer term environmental sustainability and peace."
The paper identifies four key actions for a ‘humanitarian–development–peace nexus approach’ in drylands: prioritising the inclusion of vulnerable individuals, reducing the risks of conflict, integrating measures to facilitate climate change adaptation and food security, and establishing monitoring systems to enhance decision-making.
It also shares lessons learned and presents case studies to help identify key areas in addressing the interlinked issues of climate change, land degradation and conflict in dryland ecosystems.
Importance of dryland ecosystems
Dryland ecosystems are home to about 25 percent of the global population, contain 50 percent of the world’s livestock and 27 percent of the world’s forests, store 30 percent of the world’s soil organic carbon, and supply about 60 percent of the world’s food production.
However, climate change is resulting in longer periods of drought and accelerated desertification in drylands, and causing impacts on biodiversity and vegetation cover that reduce soil fertility and undermine food, nutrition and human security, the discussion paper highlights.
Climate change can therefore push already fragile ecosystems and local communities beyond coping capacity, resulting in forced displacement, increased migration, and tensions related to natural resource access and use.
The United Nations Food Systems Summit, particularly the emerging coalition on Fighting Food Crises along the Humanitarian, Development, and Peace Nexus, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration can draw global attention to the links between climate, conflict and natural resource management to help build climate resilience, food security and environmental sustainability for the 3.8 billion people living in the fragile drylands of the world, the paper says.