World Day to Combat Desertification

June 17th. marks the World Day to Combat Desertification, as on this day the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted in 1994 at Paris. Drought and desertification is a silent but serious environmental crisis which is affecting about 1 billion people on the planet. The impact of drought and desertification are significant in the dryland rain fed areas, where subsistent agriculture, livestock grazing and forestry are source of livelihood for poor people.

Mr. Ban Ki- Moon, Secretary General of the United Nation gave a message on June 17th. and said “When we protect and restore drylands, we advance on many fronts at once: we strengthen food security, we address climate change, we help the poor gain control over their destiny, and we accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals." Pakistan’s 66% area is affected by desertification which has resulted in resources degradation and poverty among rural masses.

Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) is a leading Pakistani NGO, which has been campaigning against desertification since 1992 at local, national and international level. Currently SCOPE is operating in Tharparkar district, where a precious and pristine forest at Karonjhar hills, at Nangarparkar is facing threat of extinction by timber and gum extracting mafia, who are killing trees for greed of money. SCOPE launched a project with the assistance of UNDP-GEF, Small Grant Programme to save this forest. The project has trained about 100 Green Guards, the community volunteers who are protecting trees and natural resources. The enclosed picture is about a rally of Green Guards at the occasion of June 17th.

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