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Food Security

Why Food Security relates to UNCCD mandate?
Because food security in drylands is at the nexus of the livelihoods of poor rural people and adverse ecosystems, it represents a central issue for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to advocate on.
Within the international agenda on food security, UNCCD, with its 194 Parties working on soils and land issues, has a key role to play in urging Governments to develop national policies and to increase investments in SLM technologies and practices to restore the productivity of degraded land, reduce rural poverty and improve national food security.
Food security in the Drylands: The Challenges to face
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food security is achieved when “all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”1. Such conditions are not available for 1/6 of the world’s population2 the great majority of whom live in drylands regions. This situation is due to internal factors that characterize these areas, as well as worsening factors at various levels. 
According to data currently available3, in 2007 countries included in the UNCCD regional implementation annexes accounted for more than 93 per cent of the world’s undernourished people. Africa presented the highest prevalence rate, with almost 23 per cent of the population of that continent considered to be undernourished (figure 1). Asia had 2/3 of the overall undernourished population with 577 million undernourished people (figure 2).
 Figure 1  Prevalence of undernourished population by UNCCD annex
Source: UNCCD; Data: WorldDataBank (<>), accessed August 2011.
Figure 2  Undernourished population by UNCCD annex
 Source: UNCCD; Data: WorldDataBank (<>), accessed August 2011.
The proportion of undernourished people was declining until 2007. However, latest global figures from FAO show a peak for both the proportion of undernourished and their numbers for the years 2008 and 2009 as a consequence of the 2008 sudden rise of commodity prices. Because of their internal vulnerability, dryland populations are the most exposed to such a crisis.
To go further:
Sustainable land management as a solution for food security in the drylands


1 Rome Declaration on World Food Security – World Food Summit – 13–17 November 1996. <>.
2 Personal communication. David Nabarro, United Nations Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition. 
3 WorldDataBank (<>), accessed August 2011.



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