04/12/2021 12:03
Development & Economy
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Desertification & Forestration
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Fighting Desertification  

The director of environmental policy and co-ordinator of the National Programme of Action for Combating Desertification, he also serves as Mauritania's principal liaison -- or "focal point" -- with the secretariat for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertificaion. Each state that is party to this convention nominates such a representative.

Lafdal told IPS's Michée Boko more about how his country is trying to keep the encroaching Sahara at bay.

IPS: What do your duties as focal point entail?

Mohamed Yahya Lafdal (ML): The role assigned to the focal point of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is to be the local guarantor for the convention. He conveys all the information relative to the implementation of the convention in his country. The focal point…has the responsibility to inform the environment minister, as well as all stakeholders, about development, follow-up on and implementation of the convention at the national level. (The work of the focal point) also puts us in…dialogue with the secretariat of the convention, based in Bonn, Germany…

Desertification in Mauritania is certainly alarming, but when the measures necessary to fight this scourge are taken, the trend can be…reversed, and we can avoid serious harm to the quality of life of communities, especially in rural areas.

IPS: What actions to fight desertification are you most proud of?

ML: Mauritania has chosen to integrate the fight against desertification in a…process of sustainable development for the country that includes technical, socio-economic, legal and institutional aspects. This has led to the development and implementation of a Guiding Plan to Combat Desertification, the development and implementation of a Multi-sectoral Programme to Fight Against Desertification (and) the ratification of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification…Mauritania has also adopted the National Programme of Action for Combating Desertification.

IPS: And what have been your biggest failures?

ML: It is indisputable that a number of constraints still have to be overcome in Mauritania. This has to do, for example, with the absence of a formal framework for dialogue between the different actors in the fight (and) the lack of involvement of certain spheres…such as the private sector, academic circles and political parties.

IPS: In your view, is the Mauritanian government sufficiently committed to the fight against desertification?

ML: Mauritania is one of the Sahelian countries most harshly affected by consecutive droughts during the last 30 years. These climatic hazards have tragic consequences, such as food insecurity, environmental degradation and general socio-economic conditions that are unfavourable for the country…

Mauritania has undertaken to…win the fight against desertification, to work for the promotion of improved stoves, the promotion of butane gas use, for more reforestation…and for the training of national officials in the techniques of combating desertification.

IPS: Do you find that non-governmental organisations and communities are conscious of the danger posed by desertification?

ML: Yes, civil society and local communities are aware of the danger that desertification represents for their daily life…(and) they are engaged in the fight against desertification through initiatives carried out in co-ordination with all stakeholders.

IPS: The fight against desertification is an expensive matter. Does Mauritania have the means to implement its policies?

ML: Despite the efforts of the Mauritanian government, which spends a significant part of its budget on the fight against desertification, the money (available) is still not sufficient. There is also a shortage of logistical means, and weak technical abilities on the part of the stakeholders…

Our hope is to link the efforts of all the actors to lessen, quickly, the effects of the present trend (desertification). (END/2007)

Source: psnews.net/  


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