Ministry of Local Government (MLG)
Combat Land Degradation
13/02/12
Land Degradation a major cause of desertification.

Issues of climate change, human activities such as deforestation, over cultivation of the land as well as overgrazing are the major causes of land degradation eventually leading to desertification. Desertification is said to be a major threat to biodiversity.

Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) held the 5th international standardization meeting of the ISO/TC 207 Ad Hoc Group on Land Degradation and Desertification on the 31/01/2012 ending with a stakeholder’s workshop on 03/02/12 in Gaborone. This meeting brought together experts from SADC National Standards Bodies including Botswana who were drafting the International Standard on Environmental Management Guidelines. Desertification is the persistent degradation of dry land ecosystems by variations in climate and human activities.

The aim of the stakeholder workshop was to discuss ways of combating desertification and land degradation under the theme “Land Degradation Problems of Today are Economic Problems of Tomorrow. During his introduction remarks, Mr. S.W. Mokgwathi of the Department of Forestry and Range Resources noted that combating desertification and land degradation is an important component of any sustainable development strategy in countries affected by desertification, land degradation and drought.”

A unique instrument-United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was developed and has brought attention to land degradation issues in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification particularly in Africa. The ISO/ TC 207 Ad Hoc Group workshop was characterized by educational presentations from countries as Australia, Kenya, and Malaysia. Presenters shared their experiences on land degradation and desertification as well as ways of combating the scourge that is slowly engulfing the world.

“The workshop could not have come at the right time. Batswana are known for their reliance on agriculture and use a lot of natural resources to sustain their livelihood. Therefore they should be wary of land degradation and thus they should avoid engaging in activities of land being used for purposes that were not intended for. Stakeholders at the workshop agreed unanimously that it was high time Batswana “walk the talk” and show by ways of action by combating desertification and land degradation that is taking place within the country.”

Workshops are held occasionally to sensitize the public on this subject matter to understand and adopt sustainable land management practices. Land degradation problems will continue leading to depletion of natural resources or extinction of the little fauna and flora if people do not heed the message of land degradation.

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