Sharon Kavhu in New Delhi, India
The Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) has urged African countries to learn from Asia’s mistakes and intensify measures of conserving its land before it becomes more degraded.
CANSA is of a notion that preserving is better than the costs of mitigating the effects of land degradation.
On the side lines of the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP 14, director of CANSA, Sanjay Vashist, told The Southern Times that South Asia has over the years degraded its land which could have been avoided. The region is now making efforts using more resources to revive the land.
“Africa has much more to learn from the mistakes of Asia, especially South Asia. We degraded our land, natural resources and now we are making efforts to revive it. Africa has all the rich natural resources, so instead of depleting the resources first and then try to restore it like what Asia is currently doing, the continent should start to conserve its resources now. It should revive the already depleted land and stop land degradation,” said Vashist.
Vashist noted that Africa practices several economic activities that has an effect on the land and urged the people to indulge in such activities with the understanding of issues of land degradation, desertification and climate change.
“We understand that people are trying to earn a living with activities that are done on the land. However, these should be done appropriately. If it is, for example farming, it should be done with conscious of land preservation. The other issue is that there are several global companies that are making investments on land in Africa. These companies should be allowed to operate only if their investments are in sustainable manners. The continent should not permit natural resources to be deplete for the greed for other countries.”
Vashist said addressing the issues of climate change, land degradation and desertification required all stakeholders to be involved. He said that the issues could never been addressed by a single organisation or group of people.
His notion was the reason why CANSA was a network made up of 1300 non-governmental rrganisations in 120 countries to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable level.
In this regard, he urged all African countries to have an integration approach as individual countries working together with all stakeholders.
“All organisation need to work together, they need to bring in their strengths, capacity and people. Everyone has a role to play, government has to play its own role, the people have their own roles and the organisations as well as the media among others. It should be done together, the issue of land degradation, climate change and desertification cannot be addressed by one organisation. It needs all stakeholders coming on the table and work in most close coordination to address these issues.”
He said development in Africa should make efforts to built climate resilience, adding that the two could not be achieved separately. This is one of the strategies used by Asia in making strides in the issues of combating desertification and land degradation.
Africa should also learn on the successful projects from Asia such as the equal village development work that CANSA had been doing in four countries in South Asia. In the project, CANSA introduced modems to villages or communities which stands as an entity for the project. The modems bring climate resilience, income generation and carbon neutrality in the productive systems they have.
“We believe that if every village becomes carbon neutral and climate resilience we will have a landscape full which has much resilience compared to the impact face,” he said.
The issue of land degradation in Africa has led to permanent loss and damages to the ecosystem, habitants, livelihood and all these losses have resulted to the displacement of people, people end up moving from one place to another.
As suggested by Vashist, the issue of immigration which is being caused by effects of climate change and land degradation was becoming a major issue. He urged all countries globally to establish legislative measures that protect people who were forced out of their habitats by such effects.
CANSA works with governments of different countries, non-governmental organisations, and civil societies, among others to protect the global climate from dangerous human interferences among several other objectives. The network also works as a watchdog to ensure that policies that are made in line with land degradation, and desertification are fully implemented.