By Shakir Husain
NEW DELHI, July 10 (NNN-BERNAMA) -- Land degradation around the world results in a loss of US$1.3 billion per day, a United Nations official said and called for urgent steps to prevent a growing threat to food security.
Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said degradation of agricultural land may create a major migration crisis as populations would flee the areas suffering from food resource depletion.
"We lose US$1.3 billion per day due to land degradation. This is how it can affect humanity," Ibrahim told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.
He said droughts in many parts of the world are becoming more frequent and severe, resulting in a shortage of water for cities, lower food production and heightened fears about civil unrest.
Population growth has increased demand for natural resource and "a tipping point has been reached in many parts of the world a long time ago," Ibrahim said.
All regions, including Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean countries and Latin America, are affected due to land degradation, he told Bernama.
"It is a global phenomenon. Africa is most affected," he said.
The UN General Assembly in March declared the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which seeks to speed up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems in order to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity.
It supports the Bonn Challenge initiative that aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded ecosystems by 2030.