There is need for concrete action against the rapid degradation of land and its harmful consequences for biodiversity and populations. This is according to the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) , which opened Monday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Less known than its "big sister" on the climate, this 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), addresses issues that are just as crucial at a time when the UN estimates that 40% of land is degraded worldwide.
Nine African heads of state, including Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi and Togolese Faure Gnassingbé are expected around Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.
French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will take part in the debates by videoconference.
They will try to agree on concrete measures to stop the increase in desertification.
The African continent particularly the sahel continues to be affected by desertification. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), nearly 4 million hectares of African forests are being cut down each year, at almost double the speed than the world's deforestation average.
The COP15 theme, ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity', is a call to action to ensure land, the lifeline on this planet, continues to benefit present and future generations.
"Look how the colour of our land has changed. Sometimes its red, sometimes its black, sometimes grains. Do you see? // The gas has burned all the land. The trees. The earth has changed color." the words of Moussa Mouhamadou Touré, Mbouna inhabitant, Cameroon