UNEP Builds Partnerships to Combat Desertification in China, Mongolia, and Central Asia
On August 5, 2013, the UN Environment Programme announced that UNEP and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) have signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Beijing-based Elion Foundation, a NGO that supports desertification control, local community development, and education in the Kubuqi region–China’s seventh largest desert–and in other areas of China, Mongolia, and Central Asia.
The MoU signals renewed collaboration between the three organizations to develop integrated green economy strategies in dryland ecosystems that are designed to handle expanding desertification and maximize economic opportunities from renewable energy, tourism, agriculture, and other desert industries. The MoU was signed at the Kubuqi International Desert Forum in Mongolia, the only international forum dedicated to green development in the world’s deserts.
The UNEP-UNCCD-Elion Foundation partnership reflects an understanding that environmental changes and hardship can offer opportunities for green business models and innovation. This topic is particularly germane in China, where over a quarter of the nation’s territory–home to over 400 million people–is affected by desertification; the partnership will help to ensure that the valuable knowledge gained in China will be transferred to other critical regions.
A press release from the UNEP News Centre about the partnership is available here.