Cuba will present progress in combating desertification and drought, during the 12th period of sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD-COP12), which will take place October 12-23 in Ankara, capital of the Republic of Turkey.
Delbby García Capote, head of the Operational Programme 15 (OP 15), funded by the Cuban state and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to support the National Program to Combat Desertification and Drought, stressed that the initial objective of the programme, which has been largely met, is to strengthen capacities for planning, decision making and regulatory systems, essential elements for the implementation of appropriate sustainable land management on the island.
He explained that desertification consists of land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, due to inappropriate agricultural practices, water shortages and prolonged droughts. “Across the world this scourge affects 35 million square kilometers and 250 million people, and in our country 14% of our territory.”
The most affected area is the southern strip of Guantánamo-Maisí, along which there are 40 settlements inhabited by over 30 thousand people, García Capote specified.
He revealed that this stretch is home to two of the five intervention sites of the OP-15 Program Number 1: the Los Cerezos Basic Unit of Cooperative Production (UBPC) in Imías, and the Enrique Campos Credit and Services Cooperative (CCS), near the provincial capital.
He noted that the remaining focus areas, situated in Pinar del Río, are theJesús Suárez Soca Agricultural Production Cooperative, the Raúl Gómez CCS and the Cubaquivir Agroindustrial Company, in the municipalities of Consolación del Sur, Sandino and Los Palacios.
According to the expert, the Los Cerezos UBPC demonstrates the most success following the implementation of simple soil remediation measures to halt desertification and counter severe water erosion.
Both achievements are among those that the Cuban delegation will present during the international Conference in Turkey, the OP 15 head concluded.