The UN called on Friday to "act now" against drought and desertification to avoid "human disasters", as many countries face extreme heat waves.

"It's time to act: every action counts," said the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Ibrahim Thiaw, during a conference in Madrid on the occasion of the World Drought Day.

“Nowhere on earth to hide”

"We all know it: an ever-increasing number of countries and people are affected by drought", he continued, recalling that "half of the world's population is expected to face a serious water shortage in over the next eight years.

In this context, it is essential to "put in place effective early warning systems and mobilize sustainable funding to improve the resilience" of populations in the face of desertification and avoid "human disasters", insisted the head of the 'UN.

“There is nowhere on earth to hide (…) No country, poor or rich, is safe,” he concluded.

Global heat wave

These statements come as several countries, including the United States, but also Spain, Italy and France, have been facing an extreme and unusual heat wave for several days at this time of year, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees, a direct consequence of global warming.

"We are facing temperatures that are no longer anecdotal," insisted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez during the conference, recalling that peaks of "43 degrees" had been recorded in recent days in some cities of Spain.

We are "facing a process that is impossible to deny, in the face of scientific evidence (…) Global warming leads to the multiplication of extreme climatic events, such as the heat wave that we are currently experiencing", he insisted. .

Spain dry

The Mediterranean countries, including Spain, are among the areas of the world most affected by the lack of water and the consequences of climate change.

According to the Spanish government, 74% of the country faces a risk of desertification.

A situation which implies, according to Mr. Sanchez, an important work of “planning”.

This conference organized in Madrid comes almost a month after the COP15 against desertification, which brought together 7,000 people in Abidjan, and which committed to the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 to responding to "the climate emergency".


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