The World Day to Combat desertification and drought is observed annually on every blessed 17th of June. The main aim is to raise the level of orientation and awareness of international efforts in combating desertification. It was initially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/49/115 on January 30th, 1995. Before delving further, let’s first understand the meaning of desertification so as to build concrete foundations in the minds of readers. Desertification is therefore degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. Be informed that desertification does not refer to the expansion of the existing desert but rather activities of humans like over-exploitation, deforestation, over-grazing and inappropriate land use that undermine land productivity.
Desertification and drought are amongst the greatest threats to sustainable developments majorly in developing countries like Nigeria. United Nations’ forecast had it that by 2050, drought may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population. The rate and duration of drought have increased 29%since 2000 thereby causing water scarcity for over2.3 a billion people globally. The theme for this year’s day against desertification and drought is ‘Rising up from Drought Together’. This year’s theme is so vivid that eradicating drought and desert is not a one man’s business but a task that requires collective responses of all and sundry. There would be no developments if patriotic citizens engage in the planting of trees to make the environment conducive and favourable for living while others are busy felling them for commercial or domestic purposes.
Furthermore, when desertification occurs, biological components that aid plants to grow are lost, and finding drinkable water which is key for life would be a tedious task whereas both young and adults would consequently be dying due to hunger and unquenchable thirst. Some of the possible solutions in curbing desertification according to the United Nations includes protecting the soil from degradation through land and water management, protecting vegetative cover, integrating the use of land for grazing and farming to allow for more efficient cycling of nutrients, applying traditional agricultural practices with land use technology, giving local communities resources necessary to manage dry-land and lastly creating economic opportunities in dry-land urban centres.
Pastoral Resolve (PARE) is a non-profit organization that has so far contributed immensely in different fields ranging from orienting the local populace on food and nutrition, establishing village saving loan associations, organizing workshops to farmers on modern agricultural techniques and giving them inputs necessary for a bumper harvest, capacity training to married and unmarried women into skills and practical training of village dwellers on relevancies of trees planting while offering seeds, leather and water spraying kettles all free of charge. The ardent works of PARE are in-line with global standards as it carries technology along. Benefitted communities are regularly contacted through phone calls and unscheduled physical visitations in order to know whether there are unexpected challenges that need urgent interventions.
Interestingly, Pastoral Resolve (PARE) has trained 90 Environmental Officers and Agricultural Extension Officers on Smart Agriculture and Effective land resources management. Further, it procured and distributed nineteen thousand (19,000) economic three Seedlings to four thousand (4,000) households. Also, PARE facilitated the formation of twelve (12) Environmental Action Groups in six (6) LGAs and lastly supported communities to raise forty-eight thousand (48,000) tree seedlings that would minimize the dangers caused by erosion, flooding and desert encroachment. The PARE’s giant strides also organized training on the dangers of deforestation where participants from Shira and Gamawa LGAs were drawn, they were advised on using plants’ shrubs for cooking, experts taught them ways to protect the soil and water tanks were installed in communities that had none. All these life-changing activities were funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through revered Oxfam Nigeria.