Worldwide, land degradation, severe droughts and advancing desertification are set to force populations to flee their homes and migrate. In the specific case of the Middle East and North of Africa (MENA), such an obliged choice implies the additional risk to turn peoples into easy prey to extremist, terrorist groups.
This quick conclusion does not come out of the blue–the MENA region, which is home to around 400 million people, is one of the world’s most impacted areas by drought and fast advancing desertification.
The situation is such that several scientific researches have been handling the scary scenario that the MENA region may become inhabitable in very few decades from now, even as soon as 2040.
On this, study-based reports are bold clear. See for instance: New Evidence Confirms Risk That Mideast May Become Uninhabitable. And Will the Middle East Become ‘Uninhabitable’?
The international community is set to mark this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) on June 17, under the theme: “Our Land. Our Home. Our Future.” The Day will precisely examine the important link between land degradation and migration.
The WDCD is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.
What Desertification Is All About?
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations, according to the United Nations.
“Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world‘s land area, are extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.”