DUSHANBE, November 24, Asia-Plus -- International community has provided US$155 million to five Central Asia’s states to combat desertification of lands for the period until 2008, Davlatsho Gulmahmadov, the head of the Committee for Environmental Protection and Forestry also national coordinator for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, remarked at a news conference in Dushanbe on November 23.  

According to him, of this amount, only US$.5 million have been allocated to Tajikistan, “which is obviously not enough to efficiently combat desertification in the country.”  According to him, while an area of depredated lands in the country is not so large compared to other Central Asian countries, it is increasing from year to year.   “And we need more funds to combat this phenomenon,” Gulmahmadov said.  

He noted that all countries of the region joined or ratified the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in 1997 and projected their national programs to combat degradation of lands.   

Gulmahmadov noted that rural communities across Central Asia are dependent on land and natural resources for their livelihoods.  Unsustainable land management practices, the onslaught of natural disasters and ongoing natural ecological processes are the key factors that have contributed to land degradation.  As a result, economic and ecological productivity declined, manifested by decreased crop yields, direct loss of agricultural land, reduced soil productivity, deforestation, overgrazing of pasturelands, and degradation of mountain ecosystems.  To combat land degradation and improve rural livelihoods in the countries of the region Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM) has been worked out.  

CACILM establishes a multi-country and multi-donor partnership to support development and implementation of national level programmatic frameworks for a comprehensive and integrated approach to sustainable land management in Central Asia.