Celebrity musicians mark UN Decade with performances in the middle of the Algerian Sahara Desert
GENEVA, Switzerland, December 15, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Celebrity musicians mark UN Decade with performances in the middle of the Algerian Sahara Desert
What: 2011 Observance of the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification
When: Thursday, 15 December 2011, 1900hrs (Algeria local time)
Who: Fioretto Orchestra of Vienna
Ms Deborah Fraser, South Africa's celebrated gospel singer and UNCCD Drylands Ambassador
When: Friday, 16 December 2011
Who: TV Round-Table: Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD; HE Mr Cherif Rahmani, Minister of Land Planning and Environment of Algeria and President of the World Deserts Foundation;
Where: Timimoun Oasis and Tinerkouk Oasis and Castle (Adrar), Algeria
The economic and political values of the arid, semi-arid and dry-sub-humid areas of the world, collectively known as the drylands, and of the desert ecosystems remains grossly underestimated. Today, half of the world's livestock is located in the drylands, oasis and deserts ecosystems. Nearly, half of all cultivated ecosystems are in the drylands, and for every three cultivated plants, one has originated from the drylands.
To draw attention to the importance of the drylands and desert ecosystems and the growing threats to their long-term sustainability, the United Nations declared 2010-2020 the Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification. With arable land loss at an all-time high, estimated at 30-35 times the historical rate, policy-makers have recognized the urgent need to prevent land degradation and restore degraded land not only in the drylands and desert ecosystems, but in all humid ecosystems as well.
On 15-16 December 2011, Algeria will host the global observance event of the Decade, with performances in the middle of the Sahara Desert by part of the Fioretto Orchestra of Vienna and celebrated South African Gospel singer, Ms Deborah Fraser. These will be followed by a round-table with the media focusing on theme: “Land restoration initiatives leading to a land degradation neutral world.”
“Fighting land degradation and desertification, strengthening poverty eradication among deserts people and in oasis and Saharan ecosystems must become one of the highest priorities to the benefits of the humankind. By doing so, all will economically gain, naturally preserve and socially develop. The UNDDD was adopted in order to offer to all a long term platform that will help countries, group of countries, NGOs, IGOs and civil society, international organization and UN institutions to better unify their efforts to concretely fight against desertification, land degradation and promote desert peoples cultures, traditions, know-how,” says Cherif Rahmani, Minister of Land Planning and Environment of Algeria and President of the World Deserts Foundation, and event host.
“Natural desert ecosystems are valuable and must be conserved, but man-made deserts must be avoided. And yet, every minute, 23 hectares of land are degraded through drought and desertification, eating into the economic, social and environmental pillars of our sustainable development. With a global population of 7 billion, and counting, how we manage every inch of the fertile soil available will matter much more than ever before...we need a shift in focus with much greater investment put into preventing land degradation. For peace and security to be assured in the future, we must aim to maintain a real balance between the amount of land that is degraded every year, and the degraded land that is recovered,” adds Mr Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, the UN's top advisor on matters of addressing desertification and land degradation and on drought mitigation.