Georgetown, Guyana – (July 28, 2016) Guyana joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Day to Combat Desertification under the theme ‘Protect Earth, Restore Land, Engage People’ in June 2016.
World Day to Combat Desertification has been celebrated since 1995 under the autarchies of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and has been used by countries to promote public awareness and international cooperation needed to combat land degradation, desertification and the effects of drought.
The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, the National Focal Point Agency to the UNCCD embarked on a series of educational outreaches to commemorate this auspicious day in the global environment calendar.
In recognition of this celebration, staff of the Commission engaged over two hundred and fifty (250) students from the Enterprise Nursery & Primary Schools, Yarrowkabra Nursery School, St. Cuthbert’s Mission Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools and Dora Nursery and Primary School. The Commission also collaborated with the Protected Areas Commission to engage children participating in the Annual Zoo Camp activities. A team from the Commission made presentations to the students focused on the slogan “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People”. The presentations which were conducted by staff of the Land Use Planning and Policy Section of the Commission were complemented with activity sheets for the children, followed by the distribution of novelty items and prizes. Posters printed under the National Action Plan (NAP) Alignment Project depicting how Land Degradation concerns members of the Public were also distributed to the schools and businesses in the communities.
The issue of Land Degradation concerns all Guyanese since it affects landscape functions, land productivity and ecosystems services. To get involved, the public is advised to engage in the following simple actions:
1) Avoid unnecessary clearance of vegetative cover. Engage in replanting projects to prevent erosion and loss of soil. One of the greatest threats is the loss of productive land which also affects food security.
2) Avoid pollution of the land and waterways. Properly dispose all garbage! Freshwater resources are important for household, agricultural and recreational use and such pollution contaminates the water affecting access and supply.
3) Collaborate and consult with the regional authorities and offer your service to improve your community’s environment.
4) Educate yourself on the effects of land degradation and improper land use.
As the custodian of public lands, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has been vibrant over the years in its role as the National Focal Point Agency to promote sustainable land management and supporting land reclamation. Most recently, Guyana’s Aligned National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Land Degradation was approved by Cabinet and UNCCD for implementation. The Aligned NAP was developed under a Project that was implemented by the Commission with support from the United Nations Development Programme and funding from the Global Environment Facility.
For copies of the Aligned National Action Plan to Combat Land Degradation, visit the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission’s, Head Office at 22 Upper Hadfield Street Durban Backlands, Georgetown Guyana or download a copy from the website at www.lands.gov.gy.