Seychelles is joining the rest of the world to celebrate the World Desertification and Drought Day on the 17 of June. It is recognised by the United Nations as a day to promote public awareness on international efforts to combat desertification. This year’s slogan is ‘Food, Feed, Fibre’ and the focus is on changing attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption.
According to a report produced in 2018, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the rapid expansion and unsustainable management of croplands and grazing lands is the most extensive global direct driver of land degradation, therefore resulting in significant loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Over 70 per cent of natural ecosystems have already been transformed and this could hit 90 per cent by 2050.
In his message for the day, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw, states that if human continues to produce and consume as usual, the Planet’s capacity to sustain life will be destroyed until nothing is left.
Today I echo the statement made in 1992 during the UN Conference on Environment and Development where it was stated that “One must not forget that the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production”.
In Seychelles, one may think that the occurrence of land degradation can be considered as non-existent, however, we continue to face other challenges or threats such as climate change and biodiversity loss which in the end results in land degradation.
COVID19 has presented countries an opportunity to build and relook at their recovery plans that will help to reverse current trends and eventually change our consumption as well as our production patterns to leading to a more sustainable future for generations to come. With the effects of the Pandemic, the importance of the local agricultural sector cannot be over emphasized.
Therefore, I am calling on each one of us to reflect on ways which our personal consumption has impacted on the environment whether directly or indirectly. Let us all make an effort to be better and responsible consumers.
Let us all make a difference.