UN stresses need for improved methods to measure desertification and poverty

Eleven countries shared their experiences measuring land degradation while linking it to poverty levels s at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Changwon, Republic of Korea (ROK). China, for example, revealed that poverty rates declined with a concurrent increase in productive land between 2000 and 2009.The data provided will be used to create global indicators as there are currently no agreed universal scientific measures for desertification, largely because of the lack of available data.According to UNCCD, every decade an area of productive land the size of South Africa is lost due to land degradation, and reversing this phenomenon has become a priority to achieve sustainable development as the global population continues to grow, requiring an increase in food production.The 11 countries taking part in the desertification measurement initiative, known as the UNCCD Impact Indicators Pilot Programme, are: Algeria, Argentina, China, Colombia, Mexico, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Spain and Tunisia. 19 October 2011Better measurement standards for land degradation and poverty were the focus of discussions today at the United Nations desertification conference, with country representatives and scientific experts debating effective ways to establish global indicators to measure land degradation.

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