13.03.2012 – The United Nations launched the fourth World Water Development Report (WWDR4) at the World Water Forum, which opened on 12 March in Marseille, France.
The report entitled, “Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk,” highlights impact of desertification, land degradation and drought on water resources in the drylands. Drylands and deserts make up over 41% of the Earth and are highly vulnerable to desertification and water shortages.
"Water and soil are finite and highly interdependent resources. Land degradation undermines water availability and quality. Preventing land degradation in the drylands has the potential to increase the level of ground water and enhance its availability,” Executive Secretary of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Luc Gnacadja said.
“The world should, therefore, set a zero-net land degradation target and support sustainable land and water management initiatives at all levels. This is a prerequisite for the global community to achieve food security and poverty eradication."
The degradation of the land in the drylands has direct consequences on the water cycle elsewhere. It leads to water scarcity and poor water quality, which threaten public health, and food and energy production.
A zero-net land degradation target can be achieved if healthy soil is sustained and degraded land is restored faster than at current rates. Drylands make up nearly half of the world’s cultivated systems. Restoration of their degraded areas is critical. If the zero-net target is achieved here, it could be successfully adopted elsewhere.
The WWDR4 discusses the major global changes and risks and their links to availability of water resources. The report gives account of the status and trends related to water supplies, management and financing mechanisms. It highlights gender issues, water-related disasters, health and the role of ecosystems.
Notes to Editors:
Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. The UNCCD addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands. The Convention’s 194 Parties are working to improve the living conditions in the drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought.
For more information on the fourth World Water Development Report, please visit: WWDR4
Ms Wagaki Mwangi
Public Information and Media Officer