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Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Many of 2 billion dryland dwellers at risk as land degrades

c and scientific standpoint" says Mr. de Kalbermatten.

A Millennium-Long Challenge

"The Millennium Development Goals, a suite of objectives globally agreed by world leaders in 2000 to be met by 2015, cannot be met without addressing the problem of desertification effectively," says Dr. Adeel.

Effective policies and sustainable agricultural practices can reverse the decline of drylands. Chief among these are measures that protect soils from erosion, salinization and other forms of degradation. Proper land use management policies are needed to protecting existing vegetative cover from overgrazing, over-exploitation, trampling and unsustainable irrigation practices.

Finally, creating viable livelihood alternatives for drylands populations should become part of national strategies to combat desertification and poverty reduction.

The greatest vulnerability is ascribed to sub-Saharan and Central Asian drylands. For example, in three key regions of Africa--the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Africa--severe droughts occur on average once every 30 years. These droughts triple the number of people exposed to severe water scarcity at least once in every generation, leading to major food and health crises.


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Source:United Nations University


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