Molewa: Land degradation can't be ignored

2013-09-24 22:23
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. (Picture: Volksblad)

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. (Picture: Volksblad)

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Johannesburg - Desertification, land degradation and drought has negatively affected livelihoods in a way that cannot be ignored anymore, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Tuesday.

"It is better to deal with the root causes of land and ecosystem degradation rather than the symptoms. We need to draw parallels between the effects of climate change and the resultant land degradation and drought," she said, according to excerpts from a speech.

Molewa was addressing a segment of the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (Cop 11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Windhoek, Namibia.

"If you can put in place appropriate policies and practices that lead to the prevention of degradation, this will be the most efficient option, [rather] than attempting rehabilitation," she said.

The object of the convention was to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries through effective action and partnership agreements.

Desertification was predictable, avoidable and often reversible through the restoration of degraded lands, said Molewa.

"While biodiversity and healthy ecosystems provide wide-ranging benefits to society on the whole, many communities globally, and especially in Africa, depend directly on the products from local ecosystems for the majority of their food, energy, water and medicinal requirements.

"The degradation of ecosystems affects their ability to deliver ecosystem services, which in turn has a direct negative impact on human well-being as well as socio-economic conditions, especially for the poor," she said.

Only 13.5% of South Africa's land surface area was considered arable, or suitable for food production, and every year about 34 000 hectares of farmland was converted for other purposes.

Read more on:    un  |  edna molewa  |  namibia  |  land

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