Changwon City, Republic of Korea, 18 October 2011 – They are marginal and marginalized. There are one billion of them and they struggle to subsist in the world's drylands. They are the poor the world forgot.
Initially unveiled for consultation last year, the UNCCD/UNDP report, "The Forgotten Billion: MDG Achievement in the Drylands," was formally launched today at the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP 10) where leaders, scientists, civil society organizations and others are striving to reach agreements to combat desertification, land degradation and drought.
Drylands cover tracts of land encompassing North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They include the rangelands, temperate grasslands and savanna woodland but all have aridity in common. Nearly a billion of the two billion inhabitants of the world's drylands also share something else in common, poverty.
The joint assessment report says that "in certain regions, human well-being, particularly female adult literacy and child survival, decline in parallel with the aridity gradient," which is related to water scarcity. It stresses development challenges faced by people in the drylands and states that, "It will be impossible to halve the world's poverty and hunger by 2015 unless life is improved for the poor people of the drylands."
Supporting the "Forgotten Billion" will require concerted political will and a coordinated commitment of all development partners. Impressive successes can be attained with the right mix of leadership, policy and financial investments. The time has come for governments, donors and private sector partners to step up together to support lasting MDG achievement in the drylands and beyond.
In response to this challenge, UNDP has developed a Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework, an innovative approach designed to help countries identify and resolve barriers to eradicating extreme poverty, and achieving sustainable development.
Similarly, the UNCCD in 2007 agreed on a 10-year strategic plan and framework for the implementation of the Convention whose foremost strategic object is to improve the living conditions of the populations affected by desertification, land degradation and drought. The UNCCD COP taking place in Changwon is developing two supporting policy frameworks, one guiding action on food security, climate change and the other on gender. COP10 ends on Friday.
If you need more information please contact our media and press officer whose details are below.
Ms Wagaki Mwangi
Email: wmwangi [at] unccd.int (wmwangiatunccddotint)
Ms. Anne Juepner
Email: Anne.Juepner [at] undp.org
About the UNCCD
Developed as a result of the Rio Summit, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that has brought attention to land degradation to some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and people in the world. Fifteen years after coming into force, the UNCCD benefits from the largest membership of the three Rio Conventions and is increasingly recognized as an instrument which can make an important contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty reduction.
UNDP is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 177 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.
The UNDP Drylands Development Centre is a unique global thematic centre that provides technical expertise, practical policy advice and programme support for poverty reduction and development in the drylands of the world. The Centre's work bridges between global policy issues and on-the-ground activities, and helps governments to establish and institutionalize the link between grassroots development activities and pro-poor policy reform. The main areas of focus are mainstreaming of drylands issues into national development frameworks; land governance; marking markets work for the poor; decentralized governance of natural resources; and drought risk management.