Civil society joins efforts to fight desertification as ‘forests keep drylands working’


The Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE), the United Nations Development Programme’s Small Grant Programme, the Drynet Network and the International Land Coalition among other civic organisations observed the ‘World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought’ on Friday with the theme ‘Forests keep drylands working’.
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on June 17 all over the globe. The aim of the United Nations for observing this day is to sensitise the public and policymakers to the increasing dangers of desertification, land degradation and drought for the international community.
SCOPE’s observance events highlighted the issue of desertification to help minimise the threat of climate change.
SCOPE is an active player in implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and it is working in the drought affected drylands with local communities to manage natural resources.
This being the International Year of Forests, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought focused specifically on forests in the drylands of the world.
Members of the civil society organised a candlelight vigil on Friday in Mithi for desertification, felling of trees and removal of vegetative cover and overgrazing. Civil society groups urged the government for implementing the National Action Programme, the country’s strategic document for the fight against desertification, land degradation and drought.
“We must now hold governments accountable to their promises. The sustainable development of Pakistan depends on sustainable land management for adaptation to climate change. Until now governments have failed to act with the urgency required,” said SCOPE Coordinator Bharu Mal Amrani.
The interactions among poverty, environment and natural resource exploitation are typically complex, but could be understood at the local level.
Local economic pressures could result in overexploitation of land, resulting in further marginalisation of the underprivileged citizens of the rural areas, who are already referred to as the ‘poorest amongst the poor’.
Land conservation might indeed constitute an enabling platform through which an extensive range of sustainable development issues could be successfully addressed.