Minister Barbara Creecy on celebrating World Environment Day 2024

By: Food Focus on 05 June 2024

Minister Barbara Creecy on celebrating World Environment Day 2024

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) calls on all South Africans to join the international community in celebrating World Environment Day 2024 under the theme “Accelerating land restoration, drought resilience and desertification progress”.

The theme highlights the importance of accelerating the implementation of interventions aimed at addressing land degradation, desertification and minimizing the impacts of drought at all levels.

"As South Africans, we should combine local actions and land restoration techniques in the fight against land degradation, desertification, and drought impacts. This includes planting trees, rotating crops, using water retention techniques such as building retention ditches and cut-off drains, and applying organic manures and mineral fertilizers, among other methods," said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

Desertification is caused by multiple forces, including extreme weather conditions, particularly drought. It is also caused by human activities that pollute or degrade the quality of soils, negatively affecting land utility. These include poor land use management and depletion of soil nutrients due to unsustainable agricultural practices; deforestation; pollution such as waste; wind and soil erosion; expansion of agricultural land, overgrazing by livestock’s; over extraction of natural resources; as well as mining activities that result in salination.

Both desertification and land degradation are intricately linked to food and water security, poverty, urbanization, climate change and biodiversity, and are therefore among the most critical environmental challenges.

The international community has pledged to restore one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030. Land restoration is about creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for people both small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities, businesses and entrepreneurs, women and youth to boost incomes, secure food and water supplies, and make individuals and communities less vulnerable.

“Land restoration is a shared responsibility, and everyone has a role to play, let us strive to restore ecosystems, mitigate desertification, and combat drought, thereby forging a path towards a greener, healthier, and more prosperous planet for all,” added Minister Creecy.