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Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer...

32 pages
Originally considered as a local development issue, the fight against desertification slowly appears at an international level as a global environment process. Can combating desertification be envisaged as a global public good? This document gives some elements of answer…
Requier-Desjardins and Caron Patrick , 2005. Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
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Comité Scientifique Français de la Désertification French Scientific Committee on Desertification
Elements of an answer…
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on, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD are Redacti fully supported by this Committee thro gh the backing of relevant French u Ministries. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD may be freely downloaded from the Committee website.
The French Scientific Committee on Desertification The creation in 1997 of the French Scientific Committee on Desertification (CSFD) has met two concerns of the Ministries in charge of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. First, CSFD materialises the will to involve the French scientific community versed in desertification, land degradation, and development of arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas, in generating knowledge as well as guiding and advising the policy makers and actors associated in this combat. Its other aim is to strengthen the position of this French community within the international context. In order to meet such expectations, CSFD is meant to be a driving force regarding analysis and assessment, prediction and monitoring, information and promotion. Within French delegations, CSFD also takes part in the various statutory meetings of the organs of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification: Conference of the Parties (CoP), Committee on Science and Technology (CST), Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. It also participates in meetings of European and international scope. CSFD includes a score of members and a President, who are appointed intuitu personae by the Minister for Research, and come from various specialities of the main relevant institutions and universities. CSFD is managed and hosted by the Agropolis Association that gathers, in the French town of Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon region, a large scientific community specialised in agriculture, food and environment of tropical and Mediterranean countries. The Committee acts as an independent advisory organ; it has neither decision-making powers nor legal status. Its operating budget is financed by subsidies from the French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and for Ecology and Sustainable Development. CSFD members participate voluntarily to its activities, as a contribution from the Ministry for Research More about CSFD:
Fo reword Marc Bied-Charreton  is faci sertification, which is both a natu-Emeritus ProSfaeisnsto-rQ oufe tnhtien -UePnrnie-vYseivrdeseliitnnyte  oos ff  ( VUCeVrSSsFaQDi)lles M ira.anel. k,i pndhdeenomenonng  aan dw oar ldp-rowcidees s cionndcuecrend, by human activities. Our planet and natu-(Centre of EconRoemsiecas rachned r Eatth iCcs3 EfoDr- UEMnvRi rIoRnDm/UeVntS Qand ral ecosystems have never been so much degraded by our presence. Long considered as a local problem, Development) desertification now belongs to global issues that affect us all, whether a scientist, a decision-maker, a citizen from the South or from the North. Within such a context, it is urgent to mobilise the civil society and induce it to get involved. To start with, people must be given the ele-ments necessary to understand better the desertifica-tion phenomenon and its stakes. Scientific knowledge must be brought within everyone’s reach, in a language understood by the great majority. Within this scope, the French Scientific Committee on Desertification has decided to launch a new series entitle Le d s   " dossiers thématiques du CSF ", D  whose purpose is to provide appropriate scientific information on desertification, its implications and stakes. This series is intended for policy makers and their advisers, whether from the North or from the South, but also for the general public and for the scientific journalists involved in develop-ment and environment. It also aims at providing teachers, trainers and trainees with additional informa-tion on various fields. Lastly, it endeavours to help spreading knowledge to the actors part of the combat against desertification, land degradation, and poverty, such as representatives of professional, non-govern-mental, and international solidarity organisations. A dozen reports are devoted to different themes such as biodiversity, climate change, pastoralism, remote sensing, etc, in order to take stock of the current knowledge on these various subjects. The goal is also to set out ideological and new concept debates, including controversial issues; to expound widely used methodologies and results derived from a number of projects; and lastly, to supply operational and intellec-tual references, addresses and useful websites. These reports are to be broadly circulated, especially within the countries most affected by desertification, by e-mail (upon request), through our website, and in print. Your feedback and suggestions will be much appreciated! Redaction, production and distribution of " Les dossiers thématiques du C " S a F r D e fully supported by this Committee thanks to the backing of relevant French Ministries. The opinions expressed in these reports are endorsed by the Committee. 1
Pr eamble Marc Bied-Charreton e h anniversary of the United Nations President of CSFD Convention to Combat Desertification was Emeritus Professor of the University of Versailles T cheletbernatted in 2004. Derived from the Agenda Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) 21 adopted in Rio, this convention has succee-Researcher at C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ d (Centre of Economics and Ethics for Environment and ded in involving all the countries affectedi ebsy theastertifica--Development) triaotne  ptro otcheiss sceos mabs awt.ell as northern countr coope Today, it appears necessary to take stock of the desertifi-cation process: What is its extent? What consequences does it entail? How vulnerable are the societies affected? Does desertification worsening increase poverty and weaken available natural resources? The new current international context has generated the notion of "global public good". According to a "classifi-cation" by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), national programmes regarding poverty eradi-cation, biodiversity and wildlife, water resources, and quotas for reducing atmospheric pollution are characte-rised as being private goods of national States, which are exclusive and rival. Freedom from extreme poverty, basic education and health care for all, and atmosphere-related programmes are listed as global public goods, non-exclusive but rival, whereas environmental sustai-nability belongs to pure, i.e. non-rival and non-exclusive, global public goods. This first CSFD thematic report intends to investigate such topics in order to give new impulse to the combat against desertification. This challenge would then no longer be a mere collection of several technical actions led at the local scale to limit sand invasion and erosion, but would take a wider dimension, both local and global, integrating developmental and environmental issues. The authors of this report a P r a e t  rick Caron , researcher at the Territories, Environment and People Department of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, an M d élanie Requier-Desjardins , Doctor of Economics and researcher at the Centre of Economics and Ethics for Environment and Development of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. 2 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
4 From the notion of desertification to the concept of global public good
6 Land degradation and desertification: figures speak for themselves 8 Combating desertification: different means of action for varied situations 12 Desertification and rural societies: complex links
Ta ble of Contents
18 Desertification, global environment and public goods
24 The notion of global public good and its input to the ongoing reflection on public services
26 List of acronyms and abbreviations
27 To go deeper…
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Fr om the notion of desertification to the concept of global public good
he t erged at the T iTnterneartimo nd a e l s s e c rt a i l fi e c  a d ti u o ri n n”g  ethme big Sahelia droughts of the 70’. It has been long connec tional d bordering the Sahara and the situation of transhum Sahelian breeders. At that time, both the disruption local societies and the degradation of their environm were highlighted.
Afterwards, desertification was often wrongly assimi ted by the medias to desert advance. In reality, it multi-dimensional (climatic, biophysical and social complex process, which leads to both decreasing na ral environment fertility and expanding povert Besides, desertification is not limited d  r t y o l  ands , but also affects the semi-arid and sub-humid regions of t Earth.
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