The President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, explained that stepping up global efforts to fight land degradation is the only way to safeguard health and the environment against future threats.
Bozkir said this on Monday at the UN headquarters in New York at a high level dialogue on desertification, land degradation and drought.
Stepping up global efforts to combat land degradation is the only way to safeguard food and water security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ward off future threats to health and the environment, according to him.
Bozkir who outlined the cost of inaction also described restoring nature as “the test of our generation”.
“Our planet is facing an environmental crisis that encompasses every aspect of the natural world, land, climate, biodiversity and pollution on land and at sea.
“Our existence and ability to thrive in this world is entirely dependent upon how we reset and rebuild our relationship with the natural world, including the health of our land,” he said.
The General Assembly dialogue which is the first of its kind in a decade is being held at a time when half of all agricultural land is degraded, threatening livelihoods and also driving extinction and intensifying climate change.
“Without a change in course, this will only get worse. By 2050, global crop yields are estimated to fall by 10%, with some suffering up to a 50% reduction.
“This will lead to a sharp 30% rise in world food prices, threatening progress on hunger and nutrition, as well as a myriad of associated development goals.
“The fallout could also see millions of farmers pushed into poverty, while some 135 million people could be displaced by 2045, upping the risk of instability and tension,’’ he said.
The UN President of the UN General Assembly brought countries together to energise international cooperation to prevent further degradation and revive degraded land, ahead of UN summit this year on the topics of land, biodiversity and climate.
“The organisation has been clear on what steps they need to take. First, countries should adopt and implement land degradation neutrality targets, which revive land through sustainable land and water management strategies, and restore biodiversity and ecosystem functions,” he hinted.