Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Center/Program

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Abstract

It is no secret that the fight against desertification isn't going well. In the two decades since the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification ("UNCCD") came into force, desertification – defined as degradation in the quality of "arid, semi-arid, and dry subhumid" land areas – has worsened considerably. Recent United Nations estimates suggest that fifty-two percent of drylands currently under agricultural cultivation are moderately or severely degraded, and 12 million hectares of productive land become barren each year due to desertification and drought. And while drylands are the focus of the UNCCD, the challenge isn't limited to them: somewhere around twenty percent of land worldwide is moderately or severely degraded and most experts predict this percentage will increase in coming decades.

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