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News in drawing: can COP15 in Abidjan really stop soil degradation?

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Published on: 05/13/2022 – 17:52 Since Monday, the international community has been working together to fight against a major ecological danger: meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, COP15 has given itself two weeks to provide solutions to the rampant soil degradation across the planet. The dozen Heads of State present intend to find concrete solutions. But rising global populations, coupled with decades of environmental inaction, leave little room for optimism. For two weeks, Abidjan has become the world capital of the fight against desertification: since Monday May 9, a dozen heads of state, including nine Africans, have gathered in the Ivorian capital on the occasion of COP15. environment is less well known than that devoted to the climate but concerns a no less threatening danger: the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) intends to slow down the advance of the desert, the deforestation, the depletion of arable land or soil pollution. Other political leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, will participate in the summit by videoconference. A total of 196 states have the task of negotiating common goals, to be implemented over the next ten years. “An emergency context” From the opening on Monday morning, Alassane Ouattara expressed serious concerns: “Our summit is being held in a climate emergency context”. The Ivorian president recalled that soil degradation affects 52% of agricultural land and threatens 2.6 billion people. And the pace of this deterioration is increasing: according to the UN, 12 million hectares of land are lost each year – an area equivalent to that of Benin or Belgium. Faced with this emergency, the president of the host country of COP15 promises to make Côte d’Ivoire “the laboratory of a new strategy for the restoration of degraded lands”. Among the projects on the table: the Great Green Wall, a pharaonic project which aims to restore one hundred million hectares of arid lands in Africa by 2030. But is that enough? How to increase yields without impoverishing soils or destroying forests in a global context of population growth?” Africa’s strenuous struggle against drought and its consequences has given rise to a multitude of strategies. and all these conferences have not achieved the expected results,” the chairman of the African Union commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, lamented on Monday. There is nothing surprising in this, according to many environmental activists: the COPs and other official summits would only be “fairs” where multinationals only “buy permits to pollute”. “Let’s act, before it’s too late”: this is the universal message drawn here with humor ( black) by the late Philippe Becquelin, aka Mix & Remix. The works of this artist, a graduate of the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, are published in titles such as Matin Dimanche or Courrier international. With AFP Cartooning for Peace is an international network of cartoonists committed to promoting, through the universality of press, freedom of expression, human rights and mutual respect between populations of different cultures or beliefs.

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