Desertification Threatens Life and Food Security
Global Land-Loss Treaty Aims for More Teeth
Talks have begun on giving a global treaty on land degradation more teeth. Would humans treat Earth differently if owners occupied and occupiers were owners? This 2013 excerpt is from IRIN, May 29.
By Jaspreet KindraAlmost all the countries of the world have signed up to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and are now in discussions to create a protocol or legal instrument to make the treaty operational.
The protocol is aimed at achieving Zero Net Land Degradation (ZNLD) and the UNCCD hopes it will help make the Convention operational in the manner that the Kyoto Protocol did for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in attempting to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
The UNCCD is pushing for the creation of similar body -- an Intergovernmental Panel on Land and Soil (IPLS) -- as a global authority providing credible and policy-relevant scientific information to help countries make informed decisions on dealing with land degradation and desertification (LDD).
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JJS: Our species has not treated its home planet gently, but why? Is such abuse necessary? Does it benefit some powerful people but not weak ones? Are we just careless?
While a political person might have their guesses, an anthropological person might have a more accurate answer. In the distant past, before agriculture, when we all were gatherers and hunters, our tribal ancestors often consensed on commons and treated some ecosystems as good stewards would, without any sense of sacrifice, just as today’s people don’t feel any sense of loss when they pass by a farmer’s field and don’t steal from it.
How could we once again regain that sense of belonging to our land, rather than lording over it if we’re rich, or squeezing every last little drop we can out of it if we’re poor? One powerful way is to reform ownership so that everyone understands that the profit from land is not ownable by an individual who claims a plot by rather the earth’s output of value is only sharable by all members of the society residing in the region. Another words, no tragedy of the commons but a triumph of the commons.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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