China / Society

UN official calls for land degradation be stopped

By Su Zhou ( Updated: 2014-07-16 14:35

An official from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has called for "bold and proactive" work in different countries to achieve land degradation neutrality.

Monique Barbut, executive secretary of the UNCCD, said land degradation neutrality is a crucial and viable option to implement and called for identifying the relevant means to achieve such implementation at national levels.

Barbut was giving a speech at the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the follow up to the Rio+20 hosted in Beijing.

As part of implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes, the meeting aims to establish a science-based definition of land degradation neutrality in different areas, develop options relating to different areas that parties might consider should they strive to achieve land degradation neutrality, and advise the Convention on the implications of its current and future strategies, programs and resource requirements.

"We are at a point where if land resources are not managed in a sustainable way, our generation will not be able to pass to future generations at least the same amount and quality of resources we have used and abused today," Barbut said.

Zhang Yongli, vice-minister of the State Forestry Administration, said land degradation poses a serious and growing threat to sustainable development, protection of the environment and food security, and may lead to poverty and regional conflict.

"Based on our experience, land degradation neutrality is doable," said Zhang.

"You need to integrate the work of government and local people, placing limitations and adopting preferential policies, and combine the work of improving the environment and livelihoods."

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