'World Day to Combat Desertification' observed

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New Delhi, Jun 17 (UNI) On the occasion of the 'World Day to Combat Desertification', the Ministry of Environment and Forests has organised a series of regional workshops across the country to generate awareness and to deliberate upon the strategies and mechanism to combat desertification.

The 2008 World Desertification Day focuses on the theme, 'Combating Land Degradation for Sustainable Agriculture'.

About 107.43 mha which is 32.75 percent of India's total geographical area is affected by various forms and degrees of land degradation, adversely impacting agricultural productivity of such land.

This has a significant bearing on the livelihood and well-being of millions of people who inhabit these areas.

Unsustainable growth and unsustainable consumption patterns are the primary causes of land degradation. More than 110 countries and as much as two thirds of the world's agriculture land is affected.

UN Day is celebrated on June 17 every year since 1994 by the countries which are parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification ( UNCCD ).It reinforces the visibility and importance of dryland related issues on the international environment agenda.

With 134 Country Parties, the UNCCD is an internationally recognized instrument that seeks to address the problem of land degradation in drylands. India is one of the earliest signatories of the Convention.

The first workshop in the series of six workshops organised on the occasion by the Ministry began in Chandigarh today for the north region. Besides others , officers from central government, state governments of the North Indian states, NGOs and International donor agencies are participating.

UNI NAZ RR HS1756

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