TEMA Foundation: Join hands for our lands!

The 25th anniversary of World Day to Combat Desertification was celebrated on 17th of June with various events hosted in Turkey.

TEMA Foundation undertook the organization of two separate events in Ankara ATO Congresium. In this context, Soil and Climate Workshop for Children was held on Monday, June 17. TEMA Foundation’s activities continued on Tuesday, June 18 with the NGO Forum, which will be attended by 11 different NGOs.

The TEMA Foundation arranged various events in Ankara as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the June 17th World Day Against Desertification. Each year, hosted by a different country June 17 World Day to Combat Desertification events this year, with the theme of “Join hands for our lands” were held in Turkey. Under the coordination of the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion (ÇEM) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, TEMA Foundation undertook the organization of two separate forums: Children’s Soil and Climate Workshop and NGO Forum.

Children call for action…

In the Soil and Climate Workshop for Children, inaugurated by children of climate activist Atlas Sarrafoğlu (12) and Rüya Aygüneş (10), children were given the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between soil, climate change and desertification. They carried out various activities. Ibrahim Thiaw, Secretary General of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; Bekir Pakdemirli, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, attended the end of the workshop and answered various children’s questions.

As part of the activities, the TEMA Foundation organized an NGO Forum with eleven different NGOs on June 18th, and discussed the issue of balancing land destruction (ATD), the theme of the World Day Against Desertification.

One of the main causes of desertification erosion in Turkey…

Deniz Ataç, TEMA Chairperson of the Board, said that they had been honoured by the high level participation from the Government and expressed their satisfaction to organize such an event.

Stating that this important day actually draws attention to the vital importance of soil for all living things, Deniz Ataç stressed that desertification is often misunderstood.

“Desertification means the loss of fertility of the land rather than turning the land into desert, and the decrease in the vital services of the soil that gives life to it by destroying vegetation. The loss of fertility of the land leads to an increase in rural poverty and the migration of people whose income depends on the land. Globally, 10 million people are estimated to have migrated due to desertification in the last 20 years. Desertification directly affects the 4 billion hectares of land, which accounts for 25 per cent of the terrestrial land in the world, and the lives of 1.5 billion people in 168 countries” she said.

“Every year 12 million hectares of agricultural land (the size of 3 Konya) is degraded. Agricultural production is predicted to decrease by per cent in the next decade. Observations in the last five years show that an average of 5.2 million hectares of forest land (the size of 2 Ankara provinces) declines each year. The reduction in the productivity of land erosion in Turkey still stands out as the foremost problem. 59 per cent of agricultural land, 64 per cent of pasture, 54 per cent of forest land is erosion of various severity. Causes of land degradation as well as erosion include; agricultural land destroyed by non-agricultural uses (industry, urbanization, housing construction, tourism, mining and transportation), stubble burning, improper tillage and irrigation, improper agricultural practices and wild mining. The result of land destruction, ie desertification, is a direct reduction in human welfare and quality of life. For this reason, afforestation, pasture improvement works, dissemination of sustainable agricultural practices, rehabilitation of damaged land and protection of our natural assets are all our duty. We should not forget that we carry this responsibility not only for today but also for future generations” she also added…

About İsmail Uğural

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