Climate Change

Not enough funds to combat desertification, degradation: UNCCD chief Ibrahim Thiaw

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification executive secretary bats for private funds

By Ishan Kukreti
Published: Tuesday 10 September 2019
UNCCD chief Ibrahim Thiaw Photo: Twitter/@UNinIndia

There isn’t enough money to battle the growing desertification of the world — this came from no one less than Ibrahim Thiaw, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)  

Some countries and bodies such as Global Environment Facility (GEF) do have funds, but that’s not enough, he told reporters at the 14th Conference of Parties of UNCCD.

The solution: Thiaw rooted for private funds: “We cannot only rely on public funds. Private funds also need to come. Land degradation and desertification is a problem that is everyone’s problem and therefore private investment will go a long way.”

Around two billion hectares of productive land have already degraded worldwide. Every year around 12 million hectares fall to desertification, according to the UNCCD. The cost to combat these has been estimated at $450 billion annually.

Some $6.4 billion has been spent by UNCCD member countries between July 2017 and June 2019, according to a report by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on the financing of programmes and projects concerning desertification, land degradation and drought. While $0.86 billion was spent via GEF funds, $5.67 billion was co-financed.

According to a GEF report, funds were used through:

  • 20 Land Degradation Focal Area (LDFA) projects ($48.92 million)
  • 55 multi-focal area projects and programmes (using $808.84)

Seventy-five projects and programmes were approved for LDFA and related funding windows, it added.

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