16/10/2013 - Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The theme this year, “Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty” is timely as the international community takes steps towards building a post-2015 development agenda, crafting a blue print for a world where no one is left behind in sustainable development process.
The people of the drylands are the poorest, the hungriest, the least healthy and the most marginalized people in the world. Desertification affects everyone, but those living in drylands are especially vulnerable. The impacts of desertification are most directly born by women and children, as they are often the ones who are the last to leave their land. Globally, GDP in dryland areas is 50% lower than in non-drylands. According to the UNDP Human Development Index, five of the bottom ten positions are occupied by countries with most of their populations residing in drylands, with another three very poor drylands states unranked due to lack of data.
Therefore, achieving the eradication of poverty through sustainable and inclusive development globally greatly depends on how we support the drylands, where many people depend directly upon a highly variable natural resource base for their livelihoods. We can also learn a lot from the people living in drylands, as their strategies for resilience and traditional and indigenous knowledge are a largely untapped resource. Mainstreaming drylands issues into development frameworks will give windows of opportunity for the one billion people in the drylands to escape from poverty.
Striving to achieve a land-degradation neutral world means not only protecting and enhancing ecosystem services, but also creating a world where no one is left behind. On this day when we reflect on how the world could achieve the eradication of poverty, we call for smart investment in sustainable land management.
We wish all of you a fruitful observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.