Preventing desertification

the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (unccd) recommended close regional cooperation amongst countries for measures to check desertification during a meeting held in New Delhi recently. Within this framework, the Regional Action Programme for Asia has identified six Thematic Programme Network areas. India will host the Thematic Programme Network 2 (tpn-2) on "Agro-forestry and Soil Conservation in Arid, Semi-Arid and Dry Sub-Humid Areas.'

tpn -2 aims at curtailing deforestation and watershed degradation through development, dissemination and promotion of traditional and new technologies in the areas of agro-forestry and soil conservation, which are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially acceptable.

At the launch of tpn-2 recently, environment and forests minister T R Baalu said a comprehensive inter-sectoral watershed development approach with the people's participation would slow the desertification process. He observed that despite the strong research and development base in the agricultural sector, about one-third of the country is subjected to land degradation.

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