Canadian Consulting Engineer

U.N. leader calls for world to combat desertification

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on the international community to recommit itself to fightin...

July 16, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on the international community to recommit itself to fighting desertification as a way to eradicate poverty.
In a speech given in New York last month, Annan blamed overcultivation, deforestation and poor irrigation policies, along with climate change as factors turning fertile soils into unproductive and barrent patches of land.
Nowhere is the problem more acute than in sub-Saharan Africa, he warned, where the number of environmental refugees is expected to rise to 25 million in the next 20 years.
He also noted that in Australia last year’s drought was the worst in more than a century and millions of tons of productive top soil blew away in dust storms. In India dry spells and deforestation turn 2.5 million hectares into wasteland every year. In Mexico, 70 per cent of the land is vulnerable to desertification prompting up to 900,000 people to leave their homes and move as migrant workers into the United States.

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