18 October 2011, Changwon Korea - Understanding the resources we have in the Pacific cannot be taken for granted has hit home for the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Forest of Fiji, Viliame Naupoto.He is currently in Changwon, Korea to attend the high level segment of the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
70% of the land degradation that happens occurs outside of the dry lands. More than 12 million hectares of land is lost each year due to desertification, land degradation and drought, jeopardizing the livelihoods and survival of over one billion people in over 100 countries.
"Our resources have to be managed sustainably now for us, and for future generations," said Permanent Secretary Naupoto.
"The little mistakes we make as far as our small resources are concerned have far bigger impacts than the little mistakes in the big countries. We cannot afford to make mistakes with our small resources - we need to get it right."
The high level segment of the UNCCD COP 10 revolves around round table sessions which begin with a panel discussion before opening up for interactive dialogue sessions between the parties.
"UNCCD in the context of Rio+20: addressing desertification, land degradation and drought as a cornerstone of the green economy" was the topic of the second round table today.
In 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, three UN Conventions were formed to ensure sustainable development; the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework on the Convention of Climate Change and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of these Conventions for which the UN Conference on Sustainable Development will be held in Rio de Janeiro, more commonly known as the Rio+20.
Challenges to sustainable development that may be addressed at Rio+20 include issues of: access to renewable energy; water conservation; food security; ocean ecosystems; urbanisation; population dynamics; and disaster preparedness.
Land issues are central to the majority of these issues.
Discussions at the UNCCD COP 10 today indicated hope that that the Rio+20 can bring about a shift in the global understanding of the shared priority for the land agenda and understand the challenges of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DDLD).
"I think the three conventions resulted from Rio, link with each other," said Permanent Secretary Naupoto.
"We cannot talk about biodiversity on its' own, we cannot talk about climate change on its own. They are all a part of each other and we need to remember this. We need to make sure that the UNCCD is high on the agenda as without soil or land, what is there?"