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Combating desertification in CEE

Soil degradation and desertification is intense in Central and Eastern Europe. Although the process and degree of soil degradation in CEE region is varying considerably from country to country, the vulnerability of the region to this hazard is evident and estimated to be increasing.

The process of economic transition, the variety of forms of land degradation in the different ecosystems, agricultural productivity problems due to soil depletion in arable lands and other stresses continue to be characteristics to the CEE region. Inappropriate irrigation and excessive exploitation of water resources contribute to chemical pollution, salinization and the exhaustion of aquifers. Also, deforestation, due to pollution stress and frequent forest fires, remains a serious problem. .

CEE: Regional cooperation 

The region’s particular concerns are addressed by the Convention’s regional implementation Annex V which is the youngest annex in the Convention as it entered into force in 2001 . Countries under this regional annex are now advancing in building up the regional cooperation. In order to support the Annex V countries, A Regional Coordination Unit (RCU) was established in 2011 by the UNCCD secretariat, and located in the secretariat’s headquarters in Bonn.
Regional priorities of Annex V are captured in the regional work programme for 2012-2013. Among these is the preparation of the regional action programme (RAP) to combat desertification in Central and Eastern Europe, which will provide a framework for the targeted regional cooperation and for partnerships involving a broad range of national and regional stakeholders.

Sub-regional activities aimed at managing drought in South Eastern Europe are being undertaken. For better forecasting of drought occurrence, frequency and impacts, the countries in this sub-region established in 2006 a Drought Management Center for South Eastern Europe, hosted by Slovenia and in cooperation with the UNCCD secretariat and WMO. Annex V also stimulates action at national level by the affected CEE countries, which is confirmed by a growing number national action programmes (NAPs) for combating desertification and land degradation. Presently, many national action programmes are in the process of being aligned with the 10-year strategy of the UNCCD.

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