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|War Blamed For Spread Of Desert In Somalia|
Environment minister Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday said the country could soon become a desert if no measures were taken.
"Somalis have continued to cut down trees for charcoal thus affecting rain patterns," he said.
"Deforestation has led to harsh climatic conditions in areas neighbouring Somalia occasioning drought and famine," said Kalonzo.
The minister, who was addressing journalists at Gigiri during the opening of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) conference, said the problem was real.
He said the Government was looking for ways to deal with land degradation, which affects food security.
He said the war against poverty could not be won unless environmental issues were addressed.
"The effort by the Government to combat poverty cannot be won without addressing land degradation," Musyoka said.
More than 100 ministers worldwide are expected to attend the meeting which started yesterday.
Kalonzo said the Government signed the treaty to combat desertification in 1994 and was ratified in 1997.
He said the national action plan on the fight against desertification was complete. The minister said he would release the report during the two-week conference.
The executive secretary of UNCCD Hama Diallo said 250 million people worldwide were affected by land degradation and more than a billion people faced starvation.
Sustainable land management practices, he said, were needed to address drought and food insecurity.
"Due to the fact that long term food productivity is threatened by soil degradation, sound management practices should be adopted," said Diallo.
He said developed countries should aid the affected countries mostly in sub Sahara Africa.
"Sustainable development can be achieved with the help of the international community," he said.