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Desertification manifests itself in many different forms across the vast region of Asia and the Pacific. Out of a total land area of 4.3 billion hectares reaching from the Mediterranean coast to the shores of the Pacific, Asia contains some 1.7 billion hectares of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid land.

Land degradation varies across the region. There are expanding deserts in China, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, encroaching sand dunes in Syria, steeply eroded mountain slopes of Nepal, and deforested and in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and overgrazed in central Asia counties. In terms of the number of people affected by desertification and drought, Asia is the most severely affected continent.

Asia: Regional cooperation

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Regional Implementation Annex for Asia recognizes these unique conditions, and calls for activities at the national, sub-regional, and regional level in the form of coordinated and integrated action programmes.

National Action Programmes (NAPs) have been prepared in many Asian and Pacific countries. The development and alignment of NAPs is a dynamic, continuous process, and the status of each country is subject to change over time. The Convention’s bottom-up approach, which was also generally adopted during the NAPs’ creation, calls for existing desertification programmes to be reviewed by stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local civil society organizations (CSOs), authorities and community leaders.

Mainstreaming the NAPs into other sustainable development policy frameworks or national strategy plans is important to ensure their effective implementation of UNCCD and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 concerning DLDD mitigation. Currently, many NAPs are being aligned to the future strategy framework, Rio Outcomes and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The implementation of the NAPs is supported by regional cooperation, including promotion of collaboration and capacity-building at national and sub-regional levels. The Asian regional priorities are captured in the Regional Action Programmes (RAPs), which were adopted at ministerial level in 1997 and revised and endorsed in 2003. The regional priorities are formulated to six regional Thematic Programme Networks (TPNs) that seek to link institutions and agencies together via an institutional focal point in order to promote cooperation and information sharing.

The TPNs focus on the following themes:

The Asia-Pacific region has five sub-regions. All countries located in these sub-regions have formulated their sub-regional action programmes (SRAPs), except for one sub-region of the Pacific.

Contact Regional Liaison Office for Asia (Annex II)

(located in Bonn)

Ms. Heimata Louisa Karika

  • Regional Liaison Officer
  • lkarikaatunccd [dot] int (lkarika[at]unccd[dot]int)
  • 00 49 228 815 2871
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Saudi Arabia joins the International Drought Resilience Alliance
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UNCCD Executive Secretary visits Japan to strengthen collaboration ahead of COP16
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Healthy land crucial for global climate, security and prosperity
Over one-fifth of Central Asia’s land degraded, new UN data warns

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More information about the 21st session of the UNCCD Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC21): https://www.unccd.int/cric21 Accredited media representatives are invited to attend and report on CRIC21 and associated events. Field visits where journalists can see land restoration and drought resilience projects will take place immediately prior to CRIC21. Online registration for media representatives is available at the following link: www.unccd.int/cric-21-online-registration. About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. 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Over one-fifth of Central Asia’s land degraded, new UN data warns
Towards green transformation in the Islamic world: Ibrahim Thiaw at the conference of environment ministers

Excellency, Abdulrahman Al Fadhley, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of the KSA Excellency Salam Al Malik, Director General of ISESCO, Excellency Hussein Brahim Taha, SG of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Excellencies, Ministers Esteemed delegates, and honored guests Ladies and gentlemen, As-Salaamu aleykum As we gather today in the beautiful city of Jeddah, I wish to express our profound appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for graciously hosting this gathering today. My appreciation extends to ICESCO, the linchpin behind our convening today. Now more than ever before, as we witness the catastrophic effects of environmental changes, redefining our relationships with nature is of critical importance. Allow me to bring to your attention the Centrality of sustainable land management to green transformation. Land is not merely the terrain beneath our feet. Land has always been the cradle of our civilizations. Land provides us with the essential food we eat. 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Arguably, countries of the Islamic World have more power to bring positive change to the Planet than any other similar group. The Islamic World, perhaps more than other groups, needs to control its narrative on climate and environmental change. Unleashing that power can be truly transformative and bring positive change to the world. Coming back specifically to land loss, the challenge is huge.  According to the UNCCD’s Global Land Outlook report, up to 40 % of the global land has been degraded. If the current trend continues, by 2050, we will further degrade an area the size of South America. The good news is the solution is literally in our hands: it’s called Land Restoration. By restoring degraded land, we improve food security and, even more importantly, food sovereignty. Whether in Arid Lands, in grasslands or in more humid ecosystems, we have one billion hectares of land that can be put back to health by 2030. Healing one billion hectares of ailing land and putting it back to the global economy is a smart and wise investment.   One good example of such powerful change is the critical role played by Saudi Arabia during its G20 Presidency, when it led G20 Leaders to adopt the Global Land Restoration Initiative. The ambitious G20 Global Land Initiative, housed within the UNCCD, has set an audacious goal: halve land degradation in the world by 2040. This initiative is global in scope and is committed to working with all countries, including those of the Islamic World and with the ICESCO. We are also very pleased with the Middle East Green Initiative, which has received substantive financial support from Saudi Arabia and aims at restoring 200 million hectares of degraded land. We are confident that building on Islamic Civilization and its great principles of solidarity, more countries will support large-scale land restoration as well Drought Mitigation in the world. 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Climate COP 27 in Sharm Es-Sheikh and COP28 in Dubai, while Morocco just hosted the WB/IMF annual assemblies …there is no mistake. There is a clear indication of Islamic Countries strong commitment to multilateralism. UNCCD COP16 in December 2024, in Riyadh, presents a unique platform for countries of this group to demonstrate their leadership in combating desertification, land degradation, and drought. We can make the next UNCCD 16th COP the moon-shoot moment for land restoration and drought resilience, for people, for the planet and for prosperity. Shukran!

Towards green transformation in the Islamic world: Ibrahim Thiaw at the conference of environment ministers
A milestone moment: Uzbekistan and UNCCD team up to tackle land crisis

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A milestone moment: Uzbekistan and UNCCD team up to tackle land crisis