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Desertification in focus as 15th UN Conference of Parties ends in Ivory Coast

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The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has ended in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The edition which was against desertification ended with 38 decisions adopted to invest in land restoration and drought mitigation.

The conference was attended by leaders from governments, the private sector, and civil society with a target of finding sustainable solutions for land restoration.

The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UN Convention. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention.

The Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw of the COP stressed the need for effective steps to prevent continued land degradation.

“Beyond the technical terms and discussions, all is really about life. It’s about our well-being. Knowing that 40% of the planet’s land surface is already damaged by human activity, I think, calls for action. So this COP is also a call to action on two major issues: land restoration and drought.” The Secretary remarked.

Climate activist, Jean Claude Brou, argued that the effect of land degradation is telling on agriculture performance of the world and Africa particularly.

“The farmers experience the reality of land degradation, they are the ones battling it on all fronts, the farmers know this reality. The farmers are the ones who know the reality of the situation in the forests. They’re organized in groups and could have been invited! Instead, administrators, committees, or agricultural organizations, attended, I do not agree with that.”

According to a policy brief (Pdf) published by the African Group of Negotiators Support, Land degradation is rampant in Africa, accounting for 46% of the total land area. At the current pace, it is projected to render more than half of the cultivated land in Africa unusable by 2050.

The 196 Parties that made the conference, pledged to boost drought resilience and invest in land restoration for prosperity in the future. 38 decisions were adopted with more robust monitoring and data to track progress against land restoration commitments.

It was also noted that new political and financial impetus to help nations deal with the devastating impacts of drought and build resilience.

Musings From Abroad

US wants Africa to isolate Russia but won’t force its decision – Secretary Blinken

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Despite having seek support from the continent’s 54 countries in efforts to isolate Russia over its Ukraine invasion, the United States says it will not dictate Africa’s choices.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said on Monday, while presenting a new strategy document for sub-Saharan Africa at the University of Pretoria in South Africa’s capital.

The presentation is part of a continental tour that will also take him to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

“Too often, African nations have been treated as instruments of other nations’ progress, rather than the authors of their own,” said Blinken. “They have been told to pick a side in great power contests that feel far removed from daily struggles of their people.”

The strategy document stressed the threats posed by China and Russia to the United States’ interest in this increasingly important region.

Africa has been at the centre of the Russian/Ukraine war, with the two European countries being power houses in the supply of grains and other staple, the war has lunched in an era of high food cost in developing countries, largely African countries.

The continent has had a contingent of international guest lately. Recall  that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavlov and French President Emmanuel Macron’s travel recently visited. Ukraine also announced that its Foreign minister will soon be visiting in a yet to be announced that.

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Musings From Abroad

Ukraine foreign minister to tour African states. Here’s why

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Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday revealed that its foreign minister will make a tour of African states this autumn.

The president’s office quoted Zelenskiy as saying at an online news conference for African media.

“I can’t do it now because of the war. I planned before the war, and I am sure that after the war I will do it,” The presidency said.

Africa has been at the centre of the Russian/Ukraine war, with the two European countries being power houses in the supply of grains and other staple, the war has lunched in an era of high food cost in developing countries, largely African countries.

The Ukrainian foreign minister’s visit will be the fourth in the series of strategic diplomatic visits to the continent in recent month by international leaders.

News broke on Monday that The United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blnken, is scheduled to tour Africa at a later date this month. That is shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavlov and French President Emmanuel Macron’s travel to three west African states where the European Union pledged to make Africa its focal point.

Despite the geographical distance, there are important ties between Ukraine and Africa, including more than 8,000 Moroccans and 4,000 Nigerians studying in Ukraine and over $4 billion in exports from Ukraine to Africa.

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