Africa: Combating Desertification in Plans and Actions


Nina Grishina


The article raises the problem of desertification in Africa and the expansion of the largest African deserts. The essence of desertification is defined as the degradation of land areas suitable for agricultural activities, which is expressed in the deterioration of soil properties, salinization of ground water, reduction of biological productivity, loss of the ability of the ecosystem to recover.

The author considers that the desertification is caused by the negative impact of anthropogenic activities, lack of water resources, deforestation, salinization of soils, degradation of pastures and land, and climate change. Examples of international contacts in combating desertification and of the activities of the local population in this direction are given.

Among the harmful consequences of the expansion of the desert zone the author mentions negative changes in the way of life of the local population that has existed for centuries, the increase in the flow of forced migrants to regions with a milder climate, cities or outside their States.

The problem of desertification came to the attention of the international community in the 1970s after the disastrous drought in the Sahel in the late 1960s and mid-1970s. The package of measures proposed to eliminate the consequences of droughts and fight the onset of sand primarily included humanitarian assistance. Measures to improve the local environmental management system, which required significant technical resources and material investments, were carried out partially.

The results of numerous regional and international symposiums devoted to desertification issues are usually a statement of the existence of the problem itself and a resolution of a recommendatory nature.

In addressing this issue, the governments of the African countries concerned rely on the assistance of the international community or individual states with highly qualified personnel and the necessary technical equipment.

The main aspect of combating desertification is the development of international norms and rules that should reflect ways to restore soil fertility and contain scientific planning methods for the use of new agricultural land.

Obstacles to the implementation of concrete measures to curb desertification include the economic weakness of the states concerned, the lack of clear environmental plans and reliance on national human resources.


desertification, anthropogenic impact, climate change, agriculture, soil degradation, research, environmental monitoring, forest plantations




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