World Day to Combat Desertification Geneva 2014

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DSC_0140Last Tuesday (17th of June), Initiatives of Change together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation organized an observance event for the “World Day to Combat Desertification” to raise awareness for the issue of land degradation.

The outcome was an exciting conference, bringing together international experts from IUCN, the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern, Initiative for Land Lives Peace, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and UNCCD.

One key message came out: land degradation is not a fatality. It is mainly a result of human activity including overgrazing, poor farming techniques, deforestation and it is certainly exacerbated by climate change. But there is a lot we can do to challenge and combat desertification. Reforestation, tree-regeneration and rainwater-harvesting are solutions that can make a significant difference.

After the presentations, the audience engaged in a enriching debate and asked pertinent questions for example about what we can do on the individual level, if we need another convention on desertification and how we can raise more awareness.

A great article about the conference and more details are available here:

For further information, please refer to the individual presentations of our panelists:

– Edmund Barrow, Director, Global Ecosystem Management Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Presentation
– Hanspeter Liniger, Director of WOCAT, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Presentation
– Martin Frick, Chair, Inititative for Land, Lives and Peace
– Yves Guinand, Focal Point UNCCD, Global Programme Food Security, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Presentation
– Massimo Candelori, Head of the Implementation Unit at the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Presentation

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