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South Africa: Deputy Minister Thompson led the Commemoration of World Day to Combat Desertification
Source: Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
Source Date: Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement
Country: South Africa
Created: Jul 08, 2014

“It is critical to develop approaches that help the resilience of natural habitat and communities to climate change impacts there by reducing their vulnerability whilst providing multiple benefits and such approaches pertaining to ecosystem-based adaptation. Ecosystem-based adaptation is gaining attention as a cost-effective means of protecting human and ecological communities against the impacts of climate change.
Ecosystem based-adaptation is described as building nature’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, while also helping to meet people’s basic needs. Invasive species can threaten those basic needs and compromise ecosystem functions by taking advantage of habitat disturbance, species under stress and other chinks in the armour of otherwise healthy systems,” said Ms Thompson.
South Africa has been conducting extensive awareness programmes and campaigns at both municipal and community levels through workshops and information sessions. The Department of Environmental Affairs, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is currently funding a project through the Working for Water Programme and Expanded Public Works Programme called “Ladybrand Resource Management Project” which occupies 400 hectares of land in Thabo Mofutsanyane District Municipality. The project is community based aimed at empowering local people to sustainably use their natural resources while conserving them.
Furthermore, the project is also aimed at the prevention of soil erosion and restoration of degraded land and improving its productivity, eradication of alien invasive species as well as research for the development of new ideas and technologies to combat erosion. With the implementation of the project, new ideas and technologies to combat erosion were developed. Free State is one of the provinces in the country that is severely affected by the impacts of land degradation, desertification and the effects of drought and has a significant of rural poverty.
Desertification is land degradation in dry lands that affects biological productivity as well as the livelihoods of millions of people. It is caused by a combination of human and natural factors that contribute to an unsustainable use of natural resources which include soil, water, air, vegetation, solar and wind energy.
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