DDC in Asia

From Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula to China and Mongolia, implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Asia poses some of the most pressing challenges. About 40 percent of the continent is drylands, home to over 40 percent of the population. In real terms, this means a population density that is over three times as high as in Africa.

In the Arabian Peninsula, where people have ingeniously managed scarce water resources for centuries, there is a growing problem of salinization as salt water fills the depleted freshwater aquifers. The countries in Western Asia have the fastest growing food deficit in the world and could face disaster if their remaining resources are not properly managed.

Severe environmental deterioration has occurred in many of the nations that formerly comprised the Soviet Union and there has been devastating deterioration of some of the world's largest bodies of water, such as the Caspian, Black, and Aral Seas as well as Lake Sevan. Half the land in Kazakhstan is now considered desert landscape, and 60 percent of the country suffers from desertification, mostly due to the excessive use of water in the past. Other Asian countries, including some of the most highly populated like China, Pakistan and India, suffer from the effects of desertification and recurrent drought.

There is however a considerable wealth of knowledge about drylands concerns in Asia but there has been, by and large little experience or tradition with programmes that require popular participation. Issues in political, religious and ideological nature pose major challenges to the formulation of National Action Programmes (NAPs) for UNCCD. Nevertheless the Convention process has taken hold in several of the countries in Asia. Click here to access a table that provides summary information on UNDP's support to countries in this region in the UNCCD NAP formulation and implementation and the results of this support in each country.