Mr. Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, described Iceland‘s long battle against desertification and soil erosion in his address at a United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) forum.
The UNCCD aims to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification. June 17th is International Desertification and Drought Day. The forum, which was an online event, was convened by the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado.
The aim of the forum was to raise global awareness for the need to restore the balance between people and nature, as well as the need to work jointly and create synergies amongst the three Rio Conventions. Iceland is a member state of all three conventions.
Guðbrandsson described how Iceland had experienced greater desertification than any other European country, and how it had managed to turn the tide on soil erosion and reclaim previously barren and damaged ground. Others, said Mr. Guðbrandsson, can benefit from that experience, including how Iceland bases its ecosystem recovery on scientific knowledge and participation at a local level. „Perhaps our most important take from this is that recovery of ecosystems is possible,“ he said.
Earlier this month, Mr. Guðbrandsson participated in a High Level Panel hosted by UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.