Across the world, 168 countries are affected by desertification, according to a new study.
According to the UN Desertification Convention’s (UNCCD) newly released research, severe land degradation is a real problem around the globe.
Based on countries’ submissions to the UN the figure is a significant rise on the previous analysis from the mid-1990s, estimating 110 states to be at risk.
Published last week, Convention warns in the economic analysis that land degradation is annihilating an area three times the size of Switzerland every year and costing US$ 490 billion on an annual basis.
All nations around the globe are impeded by drought and land degradation, said Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary to the RTCC.
“Desertification, land degradation and drought is an issue of market failure. The lack of economic market valuation has led to land being perceived as a cheap resource,” he added.
This week in Bonn, Germany, the world’s experts are gathering to determine the best way to encourage regional leaders and governments to protect their farmlands and conserve water.
While land degradation causes vary, they are attributed to poor water management, intensive farming practices, climate change and drought.
Demonstrated by Canada’s latest withdrawal from the UNCCD, desertification is not high on many countries’ priorities. But its correlation with food security and climate change are beginning to resonate with business and governments, especially with concerns over the world’s capacity to feed a spiraling population.
Food demand will increase 60 percent by 2050, according to predictions from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The globe will require another 120 million hectares of agricultural land in order to support the food production estimations, experts say – that is a new farm equivalent to the size of South Africa.
Meanwhile, man-made climate change has been linked to East Africa’s severe drought in 2011 and South East Asia’s falling rice yields, according to recent studies from the USAID and UK Met Office.
Since the millennium, staples prices for sugar, cereals, dairy and meat have doubled, representing the food supply chain’s lack of elasticity.