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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
  • lkarika [at]
  • 00 49 228 815 2871