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The multi-faced role of soil in the Near East and North Africa

Global Soil Partnership Policy Brief No. 1 2019










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    Policy brief
    The multi-faced role of soil in the Near East and North Africa
    Global Soil Partnership Policy brief on soils and green water no. 3 - 2019
    2020
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    The document supports the aim of all NENA (Near East and North Africa) countries to promote Sustainable Soil Management (SSM) and demonstrates the value of coordinated and targeted action to safeguard the conservation of soils within the region towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The brief analyzes the close links between soil health and water scarcity, suggesting key areas of intervention for policies. Soil degradation in NENA is driven by multiple and complex variables; threatening food security and water availability, increasing social economic inequality and depleting ecosystems, particularly through desertification. For this reason, it is fundamental that inclusive agricultural/environmental policies which include SSM fit within a broader natural resource management agenda, one that integrates water security, climate change adaptation and domestic crop production priorities. This is the third policy brief of a series, the Global Soil Partnership will be developing evidence-based policy briefs for all regions to support policy-makers in the promotion of SSM and healthy soils.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    The multi-faced role of soil in the Near East and North Africa | Policy brief, Soil salinity 2019
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    Salinization is the most severe threat to soils in the NENA region after soil erosion. Indeed, more than 11 percent of the region’s soils are affected by various levels of soil salinization Salinity has direct effects on the growth and development of plants. Sodic conditions may cause important deterioration of the soil physical properties, indirectly affecting crop growth via increased surface crusting, poor water infiltration, and reduced root zone aeration. The Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM) provide recommendations on how to prevent the development of salt-affected soils. If soils are already degraded and prevention is no longer an option, excess salts can be removed from the soil surface and the root zone using a variety of techniques. Under all conditions, the sustainable management of soil resources is key in preventing and combating salinization.
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    Article
    An Overview of Land Degradation and Sustainable Land Management in the Near East and North Africa 2022
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    Land degradation and desertification (LDD) and climate change are having increased effects in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) impacting the livelihoods of about 410 million people. Agriculture is a vital sector, contributing on average 14% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (excluding oil-producing countries) and providing jobs and incomes for 38% of the region’s economically active population. Nevertheless, most NENA countries import at least 50% of the calories they consume. Furthermore, it is estimated that the total area that is desertified or is vulnerable to desertification cover 9.84 million km2 or about 86.7% of the total NENA region. Soil erosion by water, wind, and sand and dust storms (SDS) cause losses of about USD 13 billion of GDP each year. To confront these hardships, the region must endorse proper land use planning, prioritization of target areas for restoration, and adoption of sustainable land and water management (SLWM) to reverse the situation. This paper analyses the inter-linkages between LDD, resource-based management, and food security under different scenarios and offers mitigation and remediation options. These include knowledge management and sharing; establishment of a regional platform to facilitate dialogue; public and private investment opportunities; provision of tools to scale-out sustainable land and water management options; and creation of a conducive enabling environment supported by policies and strategies. The paper provides policy and decision-makers with priority actions and options to enhance productivity, and combat land degradation to improve food security in the region.

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