CSF        SFD          Les dossiers          thématiques           Issue 1Is combating desertification        an environm...
Les dossiers                                                           The French Scientific Committee on Desertification ...
Foreword                                                             M                                 Marc Bied-Charreton...
Preamble                                                                T                                  Marc Bied-Charr...
Table of Contents4                                       18From the notion of desertification      Desertification, global...
From the notionof desertificationto the concept ofglobal public goodT           The term “desertification” emerged at the ...
Gl ossaryDesertification, aridity, drought:                                        of sustainable development in drylands....
La nd degradation and desertification:figures speak for themselvesDiversely affected continentsMost continents are concern...
Main causes of dryland degradation                                                                     as per geographic r...
Combating desertification:different means of actionfor varied situationsA           ccording to the region, but also to th...
FocusSoil regenerating techniques in Burkina Faso:methods and costsZai holes: This cultivating technique for degraded soil...
At the international scale, scientific research servesthe combat against desertification: example of theROSELT regional pr...
Alluvial valley of the watershed of El Gouazine hill reservoir,                                                           ...
Desertificationand rural societies:complex linksD             esertification was first dealt with as a bio-             ph...
FocusAbout social capitaland its different conceptionsColeman, Bourdieu and Putnam are among the founding fathersof the no...
The lack of roots in a given area entails important socialrepercussions, since it increases migrants’ vulnerability.Moreov...
Changes in land tenure practicesIn arid and semi-arid areas, population settlements andrural activity ways are usually ada...
Actions in favour of land tenure in arid areas are part ofthe combat against desertification. In fact, securingaccess to r...
Preparing the soil to sow post-rainy                                                      season sorghum. Donaye, Senegal....
Desertification,global environmentand public goodsI       s desertification a world-wide scourge that       justifies a co...
Is the economic development of the environment                                                            a solution to co...
A Fulani herdsman driving his cattle over Farch                                                                           ...
Production, managementand distribution of global public goodsThere are two conceptions of GPGs:• According to the first ap...
Towards acknowledging the combatagainst desertification as a global public good?In this context, to which category does th...
Regarding the combat against desertification at national                                                                  ...
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.
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Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.

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Requier-Desjardins and Caron Patrick , 2005. Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp. - Originally considered as a local development issue, the fight against desertification slowly appears at an international level as a global environment process. Can combating desertification be envisaged as a global public good? This document gives some elements of answer …

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Is combating desertification a global public good? Elements of an answer... Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD. Issue 1. 32 pp.

  1. 1. CSF SFD Les dossiers thématiques Issue 1Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer… Comité Scientifique Français de la Désertification French Scientific Committee on Desertification
  2. 2. Les dossiers The French Scientific Committee on Desertification thématiques du CSFD Issue 1 The creation in 1997 of the French Scientific Committee on Managing Editor Desertification (CSFD) has met two concerns of the Ministries in charge of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Marc Bied-Charreton First, CSFD materialises the will to involve the French scientific President of CSFD community versed in desertification, land degradation, and Emeritus Professor of the University of Versailles development of arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas, in generating Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) Researcher at C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ knowledge as well as guiding and advising the policy makers and (Centre of Economics and Ethics actors associated in this combat. Its other aim is to strengthen the for Environment and Development) position of this French community within the international context. In order to meet such expectations, CSFD is meant to be a driving Authors force regarding analysis and assessment, prediction and monitoring, information and promotion. Within French delegations, CSFD also Mélanie Requier-Desjardins takes part in the various statutory meetings of the organs of the Researcher at C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification: melanie_requier@yahoo.fr Patrick Caron Conference of the Parties (CoP), Committee on Science and Researcher at the Territories, Environment and People Technology (CST), Committee for the Review of the Implementation Department of Cirad Tera of the Convention. It also participates in meetings of European and (French Agricultural Research Centre international scope. for International Development) caron@cirad.fr CSFD includes a score of members and a President, who are appointed Contributors intuitu personae by the Minister for Research, and come from various specialities of the main relevant institutions and universities. Marc Bied-Charreton, CSFD is managed and hosted by the Agropolis Association that Antoine Cornet, Research Manager at gathers, in the French town of Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) region, a large scientific community specialised in agriculture, food Éric Delaitre, Researcher at the Desertification and environment of tropical and Mediterranean countries. Department of IRD and for the ROSELT/OSS programme The Committee acts as an independent advisory organ;(Long-Term Ecological Monitoring Observatories Network / Sahara and Sahel Observatory) it has neither decision-making powers nor legal status. Its operating budget is financed by subsidies from the French Editor Ministries of Foreign Affairs and for Ecology and Sustainable Development. CSFD members participate voluntarily to its activities, Isabelle Amsallem (Agropolis) as a contribution from the Ministry for Research Photography credits More about CSFD: www.csf-desertification.org Danièle Cavanna (INDIGO picture library of IRD), Anne Le Floch (John Libbey Eurotext), the ROSELT regional coordination at IRD, OSS, as well as the authors of the pictures shown in this report. Design and production Olivier Piau (Agropolis Productions), Printed by Les Petites Affiches (Montpellier) Translated by Catherine Tiné Registration of copyright: on publication ISSN: 1772-6964 (also available in French) Redaction, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD are Redaction, production and distribution of Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD are 1,500 copies fully supported by this Committee through the backing of relevant French fully supported by this Committee through the backing of relevant French Ministries. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD may be freely downloaded Ministries. Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD may be freely downloaded © CSFD/Agropolis September 2005 from the Committee website. from the Committee website.
  3. 3. Foreword M Marc Bied-Charreton ankind is facing a world-wide concern, President of CSFD i.e., desertification, which is both a natu- Emeritus Professor of the University of Versailles ral phenomenon and a process induced Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) by human activities. Our planet and natu- Researcher at C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ ral ecosystems have never been so much degraded by (Centre of Economics and Ethics for Environment and our presence. Long considered as a local problem, Development) desertification now belongs to global issues that affect us all, whether a scientist, a decision-maker, a citizen from the South or from the North. Within such a context, it is urgent to mobilise the civil society and induce it to get involved. To start with, people must be given the ele- ments necessary to understand better the desertifica- tion phenomenon and its stakes. Scientific knowledge must be brought within everyone’s reach, in a language understood by the great majority. Within this scope, the French Scientific Committee on Desertification has decided to launch a new series entitled "Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD", whose purpose is to provide appropriate scientific information on desertification, its implications and stakes. This series is intended for policy makers and their advisers, whether from the North or from the South, but also for the general public and for the scientific journalists involved in develop- ment and environment. It also aims at providing teachers, trainers and trainees with additional informa- tion on various fields. Lastly, it endeavours to help spreading knowledge to the actors part of the combat against desertification, land degradation, and poverty, such as representatives of professional, non-govern- mental, and international solidarity organisations. A dozen reports are devoted to different themes such as biodiversity, climate change, pastoralism, remote sensing, etc, in order to take stock of the current knowledge on these various subjects. The goal is also to set out ideological and new concept debates, including controversial issues; to expound widely used methodologies and results derived from a number of projects; and lastly, to supply operational and intellec- tual references, addresses and useful websites. These reports are to be broadly circulated, especially within the countries most affected by desertification, by e-mail (upon request), through our website, and in print. Your feedback and suggestions will be much appreciated! Redaction, production and distribution of "Les dossiers thématiques du CSFD" are fully supported by this Committee thanks to the backing of relevant French Ministries. The opinions expressed in these reports are endorsed by the Committee. 1
  4. 4. Preamble T Marc Bied-Charreton he tenth anniversary of the United Nations President of CSFD Convention to Combat Desertification was Emeritus Professor of the University of Versailles celebrated in 2004. Derived from the Agenda Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) 21 adopted in Rio, this convention has succee- Researcher at C3ED-UMR IRD/UVSQ ded in involving all the countries affected by desertifica- (Centre of Economics and Ethics for Environment and tion processes as well as northern countries that coope- Development) rate to this combat. Today, it appears necessary to take stock of the desertifi- cation process: What is its extent? What consequences does it entail? How vulnerable are the societies affected? Does desertification worsening increase poverty and weaken available natural resources? The new current international context has generated the notion of "global public good". According to a "classifi- cation" by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), national programmes regarding poverty eradi- cation, biodiversity and wildlife, water resources, and quotas for reducing atmospheric pollution are characte- rised as being private goods of national States, which are exclusive and rival. Freedom from extreme poverty, basic education and health care for all, and atmosphere- related programmes are listed as global public goods, non-exclusive but rival, whereas environmental sustai- nability belongs to pure, i.e. non-rival and non- exclusive, global public goods. This first CSFD thematic report intends to investigate such topics in order to give new impulse to the combat against desertification. This challenge would then no longer be a mere collection of several technical actions led at the local scale to limit sand invasion and erosion, but would take a wider dimension, both local and global, integrating developmental and environmental issues. The authors of this report are Patrick Caron, researcher at the Territories, Environment and People Department of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, and Mélanie Requier- Desjardins, Doctor of Economics and researcher at the Centre of Economics and Ethics for Environment and Development of the University of Versailles Saint- Quentin-en-Yvelines.2 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  5. 5. Table of Contents4 18From the notion of desertification Desertification, global environmentto the concept of global public good and public goods6 24Land degradation and desertification: The notion of global public goodfigures speak for themselves and its input to the ongoing reflection on public services8Combating desertification: 26different means of action List of acronyms and abbreviationsfor varied situations 2712 To go deeper…Desertification and rural societies:complex links 3
  6. 6. From the notionof desertificationto the concept ofglobal public goodT The term “desertification” emerged at the international scale during the big Sahelian droughts of the 70’. It has been long connec- ted with a given area and a terrible and excep-tional drought situation, i.e. with the pastoral regionsbordering the Sahara and the situation of transhumantSahelian breeders. At that time, both the disruption oflocal societies and the degradation of their environmentwere highlighted.Afterwards, desertification was often wrongly assimila-ted by the medias to desert advance. In reality, it is amulti-dimensional (climatic, biophysical and social)complex process, which leads to both decreasing natu-ral environment fertility and expanding poverty.Besides, desertification is not limited to drylands, butalso affects the semi-arid and sub-humid regions of theEarth.From the 70’, many development programmes wereimplemented to limit desertification effects: in theSahelian Africa, they were mainly local projects for pas- Over-grazed area.toral waterworks and support to spread anti-erosive Leopold Downs, Australia.techniques for agricultural sustainability. The scientific Bernard Moizo © IRDcommunity and international cooperation then consi-dered desertification as a local development problem,requiring local solutions. desertification is such an ill and let us see whether it is necessary to combat it at the global scale. Indeed,The terms of this debate have changed since the 90’, declaring a global public good is not self-evident.ensuing international meetings on the future of global Beyond controversies and debates connected with theresources. Desertification is now considered to be an use and numerous concepts of the expression "globalissue of sustainable development and global public good", such an acknowledgement implies andenvironment. Thus, present programmes against leads to implement institutional and financial schemesdesertification resort to world-wide financing mecha- that allow to deal with it as such.nisms. This awareness regarding the importance of The present report, based on examples and illustrationsenvironmental issues and the will to act at the interna- bearing on the techniques to combat desertification andtional scale have led many institutions to take an inter- on the socio-economic aspects of this phenomenon, isest in the notion of global public good (GPG). It is the meant to clarify the debate and to produce relevantcase with the United Nations Development Programme arguments and pleas. It shows how desertification mate-(UNDP), which, since 1999, has been analysing the part rialises, has impacts and is combated not only at theplayed by several environmental goods in the develop- local scale, but also, following interwoven processes, atment of our planet and the sustainability of the proces- the national, international and global scales. The reportses involved. attempts to identify the links between the complex phe- nomena involved in desertification - whether local,The concept of global public good as set forth in this national or international - to analyse afterwards the insreport is currently worked out by international organisa- and outs of acknowledging this combat as a globaltions and several developed countries; it is used in the public good.arenas of international negotiations.This notion attempts to compensate for what could be May combating desertification belong to the notion ofcalled "a global public evil". Let us consider that global public good, and if so, in which ways?4 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  7. 7. Gl ossaryDesertification, aridity, drought: of sustainable development in drylands. As evidenced by thesignificant differences Annexes to the Convention, this notion applies to every continent, mainly to dry areas where aridity and drought are two commonAridity reflects a permanent rainfall deficit, but is also connec- climatic data.ted with other specific climatic data: enduring sunshine, high tem-peratures, low air humidity and intense evapotranspiration. Sustainable developmentDrought results from a temporary rainfall deficit, whereas the According to Mrs Brundtland, quoted from the United Nationsamount of rainfall may be sufficient. In Africa, Sahelian and Conference on Environment and Development (1987):Sudanian ecosystems are the most affected by droughts. Drought “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs ofmay be considered as catalysing desertification since it affects the present without compromising the ability of future generationssoil structures and entails vegetation changes. The contrasting to meet their own needs”.alternation of drought episodes and torrential rains weakens thesoil structure, thus accelerating erosion and desertification pro- It is the first principle of the Declaration adopted during the Riocesses, which in turn may lead to crises, extreme poverty and UN Conference on Environment and Development (1992):starvation. “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life inThe notions of aridity and drought refer to sporadic or steady harmony with nature”.climatic factors, while desertification stems from an anthro-pogenic process and is particularly related to economic produc- Global environmenttion and consumption activities.The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, adop- It is:ted in Paris in 1994 and ratified ten year later by 190 countries, • First, the combination of physical and biogeochemical condi-is a Convention concerning both environment and development. tions in which human societies live (air, fresh water, ocean, land,It defines the desertification process at the local and regional vegetation, ecosystem);scales as “land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid • Second, the combination of economic and social conditions inareas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations which we live. This notion is complementary to the concept ofand human activities”. local environment, similarly defined at the village, town orDesertification consequently describes an irreversible decline or regional scale.destruction affecting the biological potential of lands and theircapacity to sustain or feed the populations. This process high- Global Public Good (GPG)lights the need to improve the standard of living of the most vul-nerable societies by long-term supporting their activities, preser- It is a good available to all. Its consumption by one person does notving land fertility or finding other activities that should alleviate prevent consumption by others. An example of GPG is the air wepressure on lands. Desertification is an integral part of the issue breathe.From the notion of desertification to the concept of global public good 5
  8. 8. La nd degradation and desertification:figures speak for themselvesDiversely affected continentsMost continents are concerned by desertification The causes of dryland degradation show different ratiosprocesses. Arid* areas threatened by desertification according to geographic location: deforestation, over-cover 40% of available lands, i.e. 5.2 billion hectares out grazing, overexploitation of arable lands, bio-industriesof 13 billion hectares. Africa owns 37% of the world’s (all industrial sectors using biotechnologies). Africa anddrylands, Asia 33% and Australia 14%. America and Asia are the continents most concerned by land degra-southern regions of Europe possess arid areas of a lesser dation. However, appreciations and assessments ofextent. surfaces affected by desertification vary according to the many sources. In fact, these data differ in relation to theDifferent causes, criteria used for assessment. For instance, data regarding areas subject to desertification in arid regionsbut invariably anthropogenic factors range from 19.5% (if taking into account land degradation alone) to 69.5% (if taking into account landIn 2000, about 70% of these arid lands were already sub- and vegetation degradation).ject to desertification, i.e. 3.6 billion hectares. Out ofthese 3.6 billion hectares, 93% were covered by range-lands, 6% by rain-fed crops and 1% by irrigated crops.Drylands concerned by desertification have beenclassified in relation to their use by man.Desertification stages may be categorised as reversible, * For an easier reading of this report, and according to common use, “drylands” include all the areas subject to desertification, i.e. arid, semi-arid,severe and irreversible. 76% of degraded lands are consi- and dry sub-humid regions.dered to be reversibly altered. Drylands affected by desertification in relation to their use (in million hectares Mha) From Katyal and Vlek, 2000. Land use Dryland area Area affected by Including Including severe Including reversible Main causes category (Mha) desertification irreversible degradation degradation (Mha) desertification Rangelands 4,556 3,333 72 757 2,504 Vegetation degradation due to over-grazing and fire- wood collection Rain-fed areas 457 216 4 29 183 Soil instability or even compaction connected with erosion and loss of organic matter Irrigated 145 43 2 - 41 Soil salinity and bad water drainage crop lands Total 5,158 3,592 78 786 2,728 6 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  9. 9. Main causes of dryland degradation as per geographic region in 1999. Source: FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) website, consulted on November 19, 2004. www.fao.org/NOUVELLE/FACTFILE/IMG/FF9710-f.pdf Carrying firewood collected in the bush. At dawn on the dike of Sologo dam lake, Ivory Coast. Christian Lévêque © IRDLand degradation and desertification: figures speak for themselves 7
  10. 10. Combating desertification:different means of actionfor varied situationsA ccording to the region, but also to the various ways man uses land and vegetation, deserti- fication materialises differently, and its causes and processes vary. Combating deserti- El Guettar oasis, Tunisia. The limestone range locatedfication must then rely on a number of different tech- uphill from the oasis is used as a catchment area forniques, means and actions. This chapter illustrates such meteoric water that feeds deep aquifers. On the piedmont slope, anti-erosion works have beendiversity with two examples. implemented to curb surface runoff. Jean-Pierre Montoroi © IRDCombating desertification at the local scale:an African example of techniques Methods to combat desertification incorporate localfor land development in rain-fed areas corrective techniques, to improve the exploitation and productivity of natural resources or of the whole sys-Three important observations: tems of agriculture and breeding. They also include the implementation of local and national institutional• Desertification problems differ whether they concern the mechanisms to enhance social and economic develop-degradation of rangelands, rain-fed areas in dry regions or ment. For instance, in order to preserve lands used forirrigated areas. They require accordingly diverse techniques rain-fed crops, development projects have been invol-to maintain and regenerate the environment. ving techniques to combat desertification for some thir-• To be actually effective, these techniques to combat ty years. These techniques are either developed locallydesertification should integrate into and contribute to or imported. Fallow, zai holes, bunds, contourlocal collective patterns of social organisation, or even stone bunds, revegetation of stone lines, boulisbecome the foundation for new organisational modes. (artificial pools), half-moon ditches, compost pits, grass• Investing in preventing desertification risks is often strips and tree fences are some of the main techniquesdeemed more cost-effective than rehabilitating already used to maintain cultivated lands in Africa. These tech-desertified lands: combating desertification then niques and their applications have been tested andconcerns all drylands likely to be affected by this enhanced so that their results on the natural environ-phenomenon. ment are quite well known by experts. FocusTime and money required Using carbon rate as an indicator, more than 25 years are neces-to regenerate degraded soils in Senegal sary to restore some potentialities to this soil, a time interval longer than one generation.In Senegal, the carbon stock in the soil and biomass of a Sahelian Such a degradation, whose rehabilitation period exceeds a gene-ecosystem in good condition is about 16 tons per hectare. Carbon, ration, is defined as irreversible. Its cost may be estimated from thenitrogen and potassium constitute the soil organic matter. The degra- loss of income due to the impossibility to economically exploit thisdation of this ecosystem, its gradual alteration to a crusted-type soil soil.for instance, may occur within a few years and entails a significant Restoration, i.e. making this soil productive again, can be per-carbon deficit, i.e. a loss higher than 10 tons per hectare (for even formed with appropriate techniques that require specific invest-degraded soils keep a residual carbon stock). ments, which consequently entails a huge economic cost. Finally,On an average, carbon sequestration in soils, after revegetation reckoning the total economic cost of such a soil degradation cor-(restoration of vegetation cover) amounts to 0.4 ton per hectare and responds to adding up income loss (degradation) with recoveryper year in tropical soils. investments (restoration). From Bille, 1977; Cornet, 1998. 8 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  11. 11. FocusSoil regenerating techniques in Burkina Faso:methods and costsZai holes: This cultivating technique for degraded soils consists in dig-ging a 15 to 20 cm deep hole of about 15 to 20 cm of diameterduring a dry period, in order to harvest rain water. Zai holes only suitthe Sahelian areas of Africa (they are not convenient to Saharian ter-ritories northwards, nor to Sudanian regions southwards). They costabout 5 CFA francs* per hole, i.e. 79,380 CFA francs* per hectare. The three systems of stone bunds FEER: three-stone system PDS: system of erected stones and subsoiling From Somé et al., 2000. Sécheresse. 11(4) Zai holes From Somé et al., 2000. Sécheresse. 11(4) Combining zai holes with contour stone bunds: Let us take as an example sorghum crops in two villages of northern Burkina FasoStone bunds: Built on gentle slopes, they allow to prevent runoff and (with a rainfall ranging from 400 to 500 mm per year). The yield ofsoil loss. There are several techniques. Stone lines are the simplest sys- 166 kg per hectare obtained without control works reaches, with thesetem of contour stone bunds: they require minimum rubble stones, but combined works, 750 kg per hectare or even sometimes 1,050 kg.allow maximum runoff leaks. The system of erected stones and subsoi-ling is the most effective; it prevents significant water runoff between Permeable rock dams: This is a technique aimed at stopping gullyrubble stones, downhill rill erosion and earth deposits that reduce erosion, in order to allow to cultivate a bottomland. The rock daminfiltration and entail stagnation uphill from the contour bund. In addi- slows up water runoff and causes the earth carried along to sediment.tion to the making of contour lines, the costs of these techniques vary Such a management work requires to equip the whole watershed.according to which means of transportation are used and how man- A permeable rock dam is completed by stone bunds on both sides ofpower is organised. If rubble stones are available, and leaving aside the bottomland bed. Building such bunds amounts to a partial cost ofthe cost of outside assistance: 240,000 CFA francs*, leaving aside labour costs (manpower being• for a group work, from 80 to 160 workers are needed to achieve supplied by the beneficiary populations). This amount includes sevenenough bunds for one hectare, which corresponds to 248 CFA francs* journeys of tipper trucks, the daily rental of a tipper truck costingper meter of contour bund, if we reckon 300 meters of control works per 80,000 CFA francs.hectare.• for management works made in the field by the farmer himself, 10 CFA * 1 Euro = 655.96 CFA francsfrancs* per meter of contour bund will do. From Somé et al., 2000; Hien, 2004.The effects of these techniques are well know by their To be effective, soil conservation techniques such asusers, who prefer to use simultaneously various techno- bunds often request a concerted action beyond a merelogies that interact favourably. For instance, in Burkina plot or group of plots, i.e. at the scale of an area used andFaso, they associate on the one hand, contour stone developed by a number of actors: the village land, com-bunds vegetated with Adropogon Gayanus (a perennial munity territory, or whole watershed where these man-fodder grass), and on the other hand, zai holes dug in agement works are built, etc. Specific forms of organisa-the gaps between two stone lines. Organic matter (com- tion and collective action are then called for at such sca-post) is then put into the zai holes. les, and should be implemented if lacking.Combating desertification: different means of action for varied situations 9
  12. 12. At the international scale, scientific research servesthe combat against desertification: example of theROSELT regional programmeThe ROSELT (Long-Term Ecological Monitoring In order to meet these various goals, the generalObservatories Network) is a programme implemented approach undertaken rests on the following points:the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS, an internationalorganisation headquartered in Tunisia). • Using and valorising assets in order to make an initialIt includes a number of observatories networking at the diagnosis of the territory;regional scale of the OSS geographic area, in Africa, and • Implementing a harmonised system for the environ-covers three sub-regions: North Africa, West Africa, and mental monitoring of ecosystems and agrosystemsEast Africa. At the regional scale, ROSELT relies on the (minimum data kit, methodological guidelines for datacommitment of African countries to acquire together a collection and processing);cross-border monitoring tool covering the whole area, • Ensuring the durability of the monitoring scheme withby agreeing on national, sub-regional and regional low costs, an institutional rooting in national policies,interests. and by strengthening the technical and scientific capabilities of these countries;This network aims at organising a scientific environ- • Making the knowledge gained available to develop-mental monitoring with two objectives: first, characteri- ment stakeholders by designing processing andsing the causes and effects of land degradation, and circulation information tools (modelling with a Localsecond, understanding better the mechanisms that lead Environmental Information System, website, metadatato desertification. In addition, it is designed to supply management tool [MdWeb]).reliable data on land degradation in arid areas as well asrelevant biophysical and socio-economic desertificationindicators. FocusROSELT in a few key datesThe first stage of this programme began with the Rabat workshop The pilot operational phase that began in 1998 was intended to testheld in Morocco in April 1994; then a founding document on the in a coordinated way data collection, processing and distribution"design, organisation and implementation of ROSELT" was drawn protocols. In 2000, the first stage that mainly addressed design andup in August 1995. During this starting period, 25 observatories or organisation development progressively shifted to a more operatio-groups of observatories were approved, and 14 pilot observatories nal phase aimed at improving the structure and consolidating thewere selected to assess financial needs. assets of the network. Location of ROSELT observatories in 2001 ©ROSELT/OSS Source: ROSELT/OSS website, consulted on November 19, 2004. www.roselt-oss.org 10
  13. 13. Alluvial valley of the watershed of El Gouazine hill reservoir, Tunisia: an area of pastoralism and rain-fed agriculture. Control works with tabias (anti-erosion banks). Scrubland; settlement scattered on slopes. Jean-Pierre Montoroi © IRDA range of actions adaptedto various situations and spatial scalesAccording to the region, desertification materialises The fields and means of action, ranging from localdifferently and its causes and processes vary. The origins implementation of cultivation techniques by individualsof desertification in the pioneer fronts of the Sudanian or groups, to knowledge production regarding regionalregion in Africa differ for instance from those affecting scale processes, are interdependent. So are the stakeSahelian areas south of the Sahara. In the former case, holders involved (farmers, herdsmen, decision-makers,desertification is connected with deforestation and burn research institutions, etc.). Desertification and policies toand slash farming rather than with lack of water. In the combat it should indeed be considered at different spa-latter case, desertification stems from the combined tial scales. Only such approaches allow to takeactions of climate and over-grazing that contribute to current evolutions into account and to design a set ofland erosion. Such differences are also related to distinct actions adapted to the problems to be solved. Of course,ways of using land and vegetation cover. these many spatial scales correspond to a number of organisational and institutional forms that should beHence, combating desertification - like desertification identified, assessed, promoted and encouraged.itself - is characterised by the many scientific andthematic domains concerned: natural resource mana-gement, environmental preservation, herding andfarming development, security of access to resourcesand income, poverty eradication policies, etc.Combating desertification: different means of action for varied situations 11
  14. 14. Desertificationand rural societies:complex linksD esertification was first dealt with as a bio- physical issue. Nowadays, it is considered as a complex problem that involves many human-induced factors.These anthropogenic influences are connected withthe ways farmers and herdsmen exploit naturalresources and the techniques they use. These factorsalso include the general evolution of societies and A family moving because of drought. Garissa, Kenya.their relationships with nature, which conditions how Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Monclos © IRDsocieties appropriate resources, such as for instance,migrations and evolutions of land tenure systems.Lastly, links between the desertification process itselfand societal transformation are directly involved:migration and development, poverty and develop- Conversely, the influx of new immigrants in a given placement, etc. Taking into account these interactions leads is often denounced as a factor of land degradation andto reconsider the combat against desertification, its desertification. In towns, an aggravation of desertificationprinciples, means of action, and the institutional in surrounding areas is sometimes observed because of anlevels of intervention to be promoted or preferred. increased pressure on the land. This also applies to dense-As examples to illustrate these intricate links, aspects ly populated rural areas or to pioneer fronts. Impacts areregarding international migrations and poverty, as all the more important that customary and statutory landwell as land tenure issues, are developed hereunder. tenure systems are harmed by migration processes. But the most terrible consequences actually concern the phy- sically and socially underprivileged populations, above allMigrations expand desertification… when they cannot anticipate their migration. Physical pre- cariousness is due to unhealthy housing and more gene-Desertification brings about immediate consequences rally living conditions, especially due to a lack of access tooften described as the vicious circle: "Land impove- drinking water. Social precariousness highlights the diffi-rishment - Agricultural production insufficient to feed cult integration of populations into a new social fabric:all the resident population - Increased social tensions". this requires time and investments all the more importantResulting migrations may be seasonal or definitive. that migrants who do not belong to diasporas have a lowPart of seasonal migrations materialise a temporary social capital.adaptation of families to the lack of resources. Suchmigrations are a transient response to the socio-econo- Besides, in regions surrounding those directly affected bymic impacts of desertification. Some family members desertification, migrations entail a rapid concentration ofleave to hire their workforce in more prosperous areas populations in areas little exploited until then. Land useor in town, which allows to compensate for the conditions are usually defined by ancestral practices.decrease in income caused by desertification. When In such places where heterogeneous groups gather, therethe situation gets worse in the former place, or when it is no unique and traditional rule likely to serve as a refe-proves better in the latter, these seasonal migrations rence for land, forest and rangeland management. Inmay become a definitive resettling in towns or pioneer addition, migrants do not know well the new environmentfronts. Last and consequently, desertification induces they exploit. Under such conditions, the risks of degrada-part of the migratory fluxes that are likely to result in or tion in such areas appear to be higher than in regionsadd to national and international conflicts. traditionally subject to desertification. 12 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  15. 15. FocusAbout social capitaland its different conceptionsColeman, Bourdieu and Putnam are among the founding fathersof the notion of social capital.In his interview to the "Sciences Humaines" magazine, Putmandescribes social capital as "norms and networks that facilitatesocial trust, coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit". In … and increase migrants vulnerabilitythis interview, he states his conception and counters bothColeman and Bourdieu. In opposition to Coleman, he modulates and risk of povertythe effects to be expected from social capital: "During myresearch in Italy, I have been using for a decade the notion of Migration and desertification are closely interwoven,social capital as defined by James Coleman. But I have diverged, whether in specific areas, in neighbouring regions or atbecause for Coleman, networks and norms can only entail posi- a far and even very far distance.tive effects. However, some networks such as the Ku Klux Klan orthe Nazi party had appalling effects. For ten years, I have conse- History showed that populations of drylands are able toquently diverged from this definition". He also disagrees with regulate societal or environmental economic crises byBourdieu in whom he paradoxically senses an individualist migrating and saving, under the form of cattle forconception of social capital. "Pierre Bourdieu was also interested instance. In fact, migrations help create and maintainin social capital, but more for the benefits that individuals can social fabrics in geographic space. They can be unders-gain for themselves. E.g., if you are looking for a job, you use tood as risk-minimising strategies. Families scattered inyour networks. I think that social capital can have external conse- different places, especially in terms of rainfall, soil andquences, i.e. it can also benefit persons who have none". vegetation, protect themselves against drought andThese two oppositions show how diversely social capital is famine hazards. High migratory frequencies, forunderstood. Even though the concept of social capital may be example "stopover" migrations, may also evidence thathighly relevant, it is still quite changing. an environment is impoverished or saturated and unable to shelter durably migrating populations or to From Ballet and Guillon, 2003. meet the needs of its residents.Desertification and rural societies: complex links 13
  16. 16. The lack of roots in a given area entails important socialrepercussions, since it increases migrants’ vulnerability.Moreover, it induces families who are “just passing” tobe little interested in renewable resource management.In fact, handing down local beliefs and knowledge onthe environment contributes to social cohesion.Similarly, a decline in traditional beliefs and social orga-nisation may lead to decrease cultural and social capitaland to increase poverty. Knowledge of and acquaintancewith the environment may be lost, thus causing a breachbetween societies and their environment, whereas gro-wing competition regarding land may induce a break inthe social fabric connected with resource exploitation.Tensions resulting from being deprived of ones’ rights(in particular, of resources and especially of water andland), i.e. from increased poverty, can also be detrimen-tal to social peace.There are different kinds of poverty: poverty of access(or immediate poverty) differs from poverty of power,that indicates a future vulnerability. Links between Children collecting water with their calabashes, in onedesertification and these various forms of poverty are of the many wells dug into the bed of a dried-up river, in the area of Dierma, Burkina Faso.always specific. Marc Bournof © IRDForms of poverty and welfareFrom Dubois et al., 2001. Type of welfare Form of poverty: poverty of access Form of poverty: poverty of power Economic • Lack of access to work and lack of income • No physical capital (housing, land, property) • Impossibility to buy basic products necessary to productive • No financial capital activities and daily consumption • No access to credit Environmental • No access to natural resources • No natural capital (farming lands, cattle) available • No access to water • Scarce rain and surface water • No access to seeds Social • No access to healthcare, education and housing • Marginalisation, lack of social fabric • Social exclusion • No social cohesion • Break of social links, especially between age groups • Gender issues Cultural • Lack of identity connected with uprooting • Insufficient cultural capital • No access to cultural capital • Illiteracy • No common cultural background Political • Lack of dialogue conditions and democratic process • No powers, means of expression and information • Exclusion from decision-making Ethical • No norms • Lack of shared norms • Corruption • No shared values • No common values14 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  17. 17. Changes in land tenure practicesIn arid and semi-arid areas, population settlements andrural activity ways are usually adapted to climatic vaga-ries. Populations have developed techniques to preservetheir environment, and the feasibility of these tech-niques is often conditioned by statutory landtenure:In agricultural environment: Crop rotation and fallo-wing land are among the best-known techniques. Theseso-called traditional techniques are nowadays jeopardi-sed by the socio-economic changes that have occurred Policies to combat desertificationduring the past thirty years. Increasing population, new must take into account land tenure issuesproduction techniques and cash-crops, extended culti-vated areas, opened-up markets, and the weight of agri- Evolutions of land allocation systems have beencultural policies, have modified producers’ priorities extensively investigated for the past thirty years. Theseand constraints. studies generally showed that ancestral flexible systems of land-use rights and land development have beenIn pastoral environment: The seasonal transhumance of wiped out by migratory impacts, increased scarcity ofherds is a mean to regulate the stocking rate of range- resources, the extension of farming lands and the dupli-lands and to prevent their degradation. This practice is cating of unsuitable institutional frameworks. Unofficialdeclining among herdsmen, because: arrangements have developed, above all in host regions,• In western, eastern, sub-Saharian and northern Africa, so as to grant a land tenure advantage to native familiesthe droughts of the 70’s and 80’s led transhumant herds- settled for several generations. These arrangements ormen to transfer their cattle to farmers, who became agreements such as tenant farming or sharecropping aremixed crop and livestock farmers: nomadic breeders varied. However, farmers who are bound by themoften became the shepherds of sedentary owners’ flocks. have often no security regarding the durability of their• Newly cultivated areas are in the way of transhumant setting up.animals.• Some richer breeders sometimes accumulate too big Under such conditions, policies to combat desertifica-herds that threaten pastoral resources and may be a tion should integrate from the start adapted land tenurecause of degradation. regulation frameworks and institutions, and should as well involve land owners and the various parties concer-These modifications have occasioned the loss of part of ned. Every measure is likely to entail an impact onthe pastoral knowledge regarding the natural environ- farmers’ income or on the possible renewal of their landment. development contract. FocusLand tenure and desertificationLand tenure systems materialise human regulations to organise It is interesting to connect environmental conditions with land tenu-lands and exploit them, to manage resources and shape the re systems because it allows to go beyond the technical frame-landscape. Their practices and representations rule at various work of land degradation management and desertificationscales, characterised by spatial and temporal dynamics. Land analysis to take into account the fact that the decisions and beha-tenure represents a part played by stakeholders, in which rela- viours involved in this management are the causes of such degra-tionships between societies and nature are an essential stake. dation. The social representation that stakeholders have of theirThe way land tenure is organised is likely to condition the own environment, conditions their involvement in the futur of thisfuture of the environment since it may be a factor inducing environment. The status and kind of value stakeholders attach todegradation or on the contrary, become a means to combat environmental resources have consequences on the way they usedesertification. these resources. From Barrière, 2003.Desertification and rural societies: complex links 15
  18. 18. Actions in favour of land tenure in arid areas are part ofthe combat against desertification. In fact, securingaccess to resources is a key element for the sustainabili-ty and durability of farming and breeding systems.The decentralisation of natural resource management,promoted at the international scale, is being implemen-ted in Sahelian countries affected by desertification.Such a policy that prioritises the local governance ofnatural resources should allow to regulate land usetenure, in particular by adopting local environmentalconventions.Is desertification a global scale issue?In our world that is undergoing massive transforma-tions, farmers and breeders behaviours have moved onas well. In addition to climatic variations, environmental impacts and local market data, they also have to Migrants temporary hut made of baobab oradapt to changes affecting national economic policies "Renala" (Adansonia grandidieri) bark, built nearand pressures linked to the evolution of the world-wide grubbed areas or rangelands. Morondava region, Menabe, Madagascar.commodity market. Only those who have a wide insight Bernard Moizo © IRDof these phenomena and how they link together cananticipate, design new production strategies and takeinto account environmental issues. Desertification is not limited to arid areas. In fact,Besides, if we consider the opening up of markets and migrations to neighbouring regions lead to expandthe impact of economic decisions on agricultural practi- desertification even to humid areas or faraway coasts.ces in many developing countries (crop selection, land Long-distance migrations generate tensions anddevelopment, cultivation techniques, etc.), especially in conflicts. The increased poverty and inequalities in ruraldrylands, desertification may be considered as one of dryland environment, but also the national andthe plausible consequences of globalisation. For instan- international consequences of this evolution, makece, commercial or even military decisions made at a desertification a global concern: the areas subject toregional or global scale, may entail local impacts in desertification gather the poorest populations of ourterms of desertification: in the latter case, farmers and planet. These people are regularly facing foodbreeders faced with too much insecurity are likely to insecurity. Paradoxically, such areas used to be historicalleave their land. Desertification is then materialised by centres of cultural and economic influence and oftenland abandonment, exodus and refuge-seeking. have a rich biodiversity. FocusThe populations most affectedby desertification are amongthe poorest in the worldAmong the 50 countries whose Gross National Product (GNP) Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Central African Republic, Kirghizia,per capita is lower than 500 US dollars, 26 are directly subject United Republic of Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger,to desertification. They are, in decreasing order of GNP: Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Malawi, Somalia, and Ethiopia,Senegal, Zimbabwe, India, Pakistan, Comoro Islands, i.e. the population affected represents about one billion and 750Mauritania, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Gambia, million people. From the World Bank, 2000. 16 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  19. 19. Preparing the soil to sow post-rainy season sorghum. Donaye, Senegal. Jean-Luc Maeght © IRDDesertification and rural societies: complex links 17
  20. 20. Desertification,global environmentand public goodsI s desertification a world-wide scourge that justifies a concerted action at the international and global scales? Should the combat against desertification be considered as a public good, agood that is worthwhile because its "production" bene-fits the whole community as well as future generations?This rationale relies on the following assumption:reversing land degradation processes and alleviatingpoverty would allow to improve living conditions, thesettling of populations in areas affected by desertifi-cation, as well as social peace. Is this an environmentalpublic good? And at which scale: local, national, inter-national or global? What are the institutional schemesthat enable to implement equitably the public gooddefined as "combating desertification"?Is desertification a secondary issue Bella women drawing water from the pond of Ganadawri.at the international scale? On the other side of the pond, a flock of goats is waiting to drink. Oudalan, Oursi region, Ganadawri, Burkina Faso. François Sodter © IRDSince the 1992 Rio Conference that positively acknowled-ged the need for international action regarding the envi-ronment, desertification is a theme increasingly tackledin international debates on global environment. Theensuing ratification of environmental internationalconventions and the creation of international institutions Stakes are considerable. Till the end of 2003,specialised in environmental management, in particular desertification-related issues were only indirectly dealtthe Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the French with and supported at the global scale. Since the lastGlobal Environment Facility (FFEM – Fonds Français Conference of Parties to the United Nations Conventionpour l’Environnement Mondial) are a relevant framework to Combat Desertification held in Havana in Augustto deal with such matters. 2003, the GEF has created a specific funding window on land degradation, that includes all desertification pro-Climate change, biodiversity and international waters cesses.are acknowledged as topics belonging to global environ-ment. Desertification and forest conservation were at In France, the French Scientific Committee onfirst included in these themes since they interact with Desertification (CSFD) created in 1997 allows tothe three former domains. Interactions between mobilise research and expertise within the scope ofdesertification, climate change and biodiversity are operations aimed at combating desertification. As antherefore the focus of special attention, as confirmed by advisory body, the Committee is thus an interfaceinternational conventions on the environment. between research and action. FocusInternational conventionson the environmentThe three major United Nations Conventions on the Environ-ment adopted during the Rio conference or afterwards are: • The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD);• The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNFCCC); (UNCCD).
  21. 21. Is the economic development of the environment a solution to conserve it? According to some decision-makers, environmental protection goes together with the valorisation in economic terms of available or new resources. Although this is an avenue worth exploring, it seems that environ- mental conservation and valorisation often do not allow sufficient remuneration in relation to the efforts under- taken or required to manage the area, nor guarantee a fair distribution of the earnings generated by this deve- lopment. To suppose and advocate a market-driven development and regulation of the environment leads to cross-examine the links between two potentially divergent and contradictory objectives, i.e. environmen- tal conservation by combating desertification and poverty alleviation policies. At the local scale, for instance, the economic valorisation of an endangered species may become a factor of social inequality when collective goods become privately and competitively appropriated because of commodification.Desertification, biodiversity and climate change: Focusill-known complex interactions Desertification, biodiversity and access to land in NigerInteractions between desertification, biodiversity andclimate change still largely remain to be investigated In the central region of Niger, higher levels of biodiversity, lands-and assessed. At the global scale, scientists define them capes and ecosystems have been subject to erosion since the bigas trends or often assumptions. Experts agree that droughts of the 70’. However, there is generally no real extinc-desertification increases biodiversity loss and climate tion of species, but rather, species have become scarcer andchange-related risks. How can such interactions be have moved southwards according to rainfall. To counter thisestimated? Which scales should be preferred? evolution, populations create exclosure areas or cultivate these species in favourable environments such as bottomlands, byInteractions between desertification and climate chan- selecting and conserving spontaneous tree shoots. Farmers alsoge are ill-known: obviously, successive droughts and plant trees in their fields, or create copses or hedges. They alsorainy episodes entail land erosion and subsequent car- introduce new species. Vegetation appropriation increasinglybon depletion which then increases the carbon content corresponds to land appropriation. Modifications in ecologicalin the atmosphere. It is thus assessed that combating and social farming conditions contribute to changing the rightsdesertification, especially with anti-erosion techniques and behaviours of farmers towards resources. The financial valueand soil protection measures, reduces climate change- of land is being established, and a commodification of propertyrelated risks. Anyway, compared with polluting rights (market-based transfer of land) is taking place. Inequalitiesindustries, desertification contributes certainly very regarding access to land and economic disparities are increas-little to greenhouse gas-induced climate change. ing in rural environments. Some people use mining practices whereas others integrate conservation: their attitude vary in rela- tion to their status, their wealth, their relational background, andRegarding biodiversity, combating desertification first their material and social constraints. The erosion of spontaneousinvolves to manage areas that secure ecosystem resi- biodiversity goes together with an increase in cultivated biodi-lience and protect species and landscapes. The current versity: in fact, the erosion of common biodiversity is accompa-studies on the diverse ways to domesticate the environ- nied by an increase in private biodiversity.ment and their impacts are fundamental in this respect. From Luxereau and Roussel, 1998.Desertification, global environment and public goods 19
  22. 22. A Fulani herdsman driving his cattle over Farch bridge in N’Djamena, Chad. Christian Lévêque © IRDA delicate implementationof the three environmental conventionsThe relations between the actions undertaken to generations. The authors proposed four categories ofimplement the several environmental conventions are global public goods: peace and security, environment,complex; they may be sometimes synergetic, sometimes health, knowledge and information. In France, theantagonistic. Besides, they may be synergetic at a given Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Developmentscale, while antagonistic at another one, and may globally Agency (AFD) also developed this notion, in particularbring – or not – social justice. under the aegis of the High Council for International Cooperation (HCCI).In addition, the simultaneous local-scale enforcement ofthe various conventions raises the critical question of how As defined by economists, public goods havethe many organisations and institutions responsible for two characteristics:their implementation hinge together, and how they interact • Nobody can be denied their use;with pre-existing collective organisations. The efficiency • Consumption of these goods by one person does notand durability of such actions are related to their support by reduce consumption by others.local organisations and to their capacity to trigger off vir-tuous circles regarding poverty. Whether they concern Public goods exist under more or less pure, mixed forms.climate change, biodiversity, land and water protection, They may be supplied by the private sector or the State.desertification, or else actions promoted and backed bydonors such as poverty eradication policies, they all entail Public goods and their supply methods are also definedsocial transformations that interfere with each other. by two other criteria, i.e. the size of the users group and the divisibility of this good. Such criteria lead to think upGlobal public goods and the combat against desertification and decide the type of funding to be promoted and implemented so as to create, manage and preserve suchA necessary concept in the globalisation context good. In the case of a very large users group and low divisibility of the good, the State may for instance deci-In 1999, UNDP proposed the notion of global public de to finance the corresponding public good. If thegoods (GPGs) in order to take into account the evolu- users group is small, allocation of the good may betions connected with globalisation. In its first book undertaken by associations. Nature reserves or nationalentitled: “Global public goods: international cooperation forests are state-managed environmental public goodsin the 21st century” (1999), UNDP suggests to resort to when the State owns them. Biodiversity, determinedthe concept of public good to design a new form of forests or remarkable sites may also belong to privateinternational cooperation that should be fairer, more stakeholders who thus contribute to producing environ-effective, and adapted to globalisation impacts. GPGs mental public goods.are defined as goods that exclude no individuals, regionsand countries and extend to both current and future20 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  23. 23. Production, managementand distribution of global public goodsThere are two conceptions of GPGs:• According to the first approach, GPGs are goods that Within the scope of its research, UNDP has published asuffer from underprovision by the markets. Such goods second book entitled “Providing global public goods”must then be supplied outside market mechanisms, by (2003). Its authors contribute further information: theyinternational or even supranational bodies. reconsider the definition of public goods in the global• In the second theory, GPG production is related to glo- context and suggest more detailed definitions for GPGs,bal political economics. It goes beyond the conception as well as more concrete ways for producing andof markets as faulty to promote the idea of a participa- distributing them:tory international democracy in charge of producingand managing global public goods through an appro- • National poverty alleviation programmes, nationalpriate transnational tax system. biodiversity and wildlife, water resources and targets for reducing atmospheric pollution are rival and exclusiveThe global characteristic of such goods should then be national (State) private goods.understood as a social construction. Acknowledgingpublic goods is thus a political process that recognises • Freedom from extreme poverty, basic education andand relies upon relevant institutions aimed at setting up health care for all, as well as the atmosphere, areinternational cooperation. The supply of these goods classified as non-exclusive but rival GPGs, and aremust be organised, regulated and controlled at the consequently common-pool goods.international scale in order to guarantee their fairsharing: funding, production and distribution condi- • Lastly, environmental sustainability belongs to puretions must be defined. All stakeholders, whether public, global public goods, i.e. non-rival and non-exclusiveprivate, local, national or international, should be invol- goods.ved in providing countries and regions with GPGs. FocusPrivate goods and publicor collective goods as defined by economists the scientific debate on common resources. Indeed, other scien- tists as those who belong to the International Association for the Exclusive Exclusive Study of Common Property (IASCP) show that local scale normRival in consumption Private goods Common-pool goods, and regulation systems are able to regulate the withdrawal of mixed goods common resources and ensure their renewal.Non-rival Mixed goods, club Pure public goods goods, toll goods Contrary to common-pool goods, club goods have non-rival properties but are exclusive. Club access usually requires entran- ce fees, but there are other forms of discriminatory entrance.Few goods (justice, police) qualify as purely public. Most of them A woodland managed by an association is a club good if, excepthave in fact mixed properties of private and public goods. from association members, nobody is allowed to collect derived resources (picking, firewood…).Common resources or common-pool goods are goodswhose access cannot be denied. They are often defined as such Toll goods are theoretically accessible to all, but when usedbecause of their physical features (e.g. open spaces). Such resour- simultaneously by a number of people, they become rival inces are rival in consumption: each unit of resource taken is made consumption: this is the so-called “glut effect”. This applies forunavailable to the other users of such resource. instance to public education. Rivalry among users leads to degrade the public good supplied to populations. ExercisingBush areas in Africa are local common-pool goods: various acti- access conditions allows to maintain a collective use withoutvities, either seasonal or regular, take place there: farming, bree- decreasing its quality and generates de facto an exclusion amongding, picking, firewood collecting, etc. Cross-border groundwater users. In the case of education, requiring a specific diploma is foris a regional common-pool good, that interests simultaneously instance an element that induces to exclude part of the potentialseveral countries. An excessive use of such goods leads to their users.disappearance, as described by Hardin’s article entitled the“Tragedy of the Commons” (1977), which is a reference point of From Jarret and Mahieu, 1998.Desertification, global environment and public goods 21
  24. 24. Towards acknowledging the combatagainst desertification as a global public good?In this context, to which category does the combat against At the time being, regional workshops on desertificationdesertification belong? If it is regarded as a public good, and land degradation organised by governmental andwhat is the good produced? Information, inputs, produc- regional bodies, development projects, non-governmentaltion techniques, scientific knowledge, training, what are organisations (NGOs) and associations are part of the com-the links between these different elements and which bat against desertification as a public good. These actionsshould be prioritised? If combating desertification is are set up at different local, national and regional scales.accepted as a global public good, this good would includeall the various techniques used to combat land degrada- Considering the combat against desertification as a publiction. It would also encompass incentives for the collective good comes down to recognising both its various scalesimplementation of anti-desertification measures and the and diverse situations. How is it possible to define globalsupport to the most underprivileged populations. In addi- rules likely to suit distinct contexts? Intermediary stagestion, food security, education (knowledge and informa- between the global scale on the one hand, and the regional,tion), health or even market-induced impacts on develop- national and local scales on the other hand, should bement could even be integrated. envisaged with this aim. For instance, in Africa, common bush areas have been used for decades by local nativeNow several of these domains may also be contemplated populations as well as by seasonal migrants. These com-as GPGs in their own rights. Conversely, if it is not explicit- munities have designed local rules of use that havely recognised as a GPG, the combat against desertification operated for a long time. Their legitimacy in terms of deci-may be tied up with many existing public goods, and the- sion relies on their historical roots. However, in manyrefore benefit by efforts undertaken within such scopes. cases, such rules can no longer ensure the sustainability ofAccording to UNDP classification, this concerns freedom common areas and must be adjusted. These commonfrom extreme poverty and access to education. Moreover, if areas are often state-owned but in a private capacity. Theycombating desertification belongs to environmental either depend on local supervising authorities whensustainability, then it must have the characteristics of pure natural resource management is actually decentralised, orpublic goods. This implies to make choices regarding its are kept under the control of the central government.production and distribution: supply must be constant and Consequently, the State is legally concerned by the deserti-the good must be accessible by all simultaneously. fication of these areas. Lastly, desertification and publicSo, if considered from the notion of GPG, combating deser- goods are also connected at levels other than local or natio-tification is a set of goods, practices, conditions, informa- nal scales: desertification in a given area may entail conse-tion and knowledge, and its nature is mixed and quences (whether economic or biophysical) in differentheterogeneous. regions. Irrigation system by water transportation along contour lines in the High Atlas, Morocco. Claude Dejoux © IRD22 Is combating desertification an environmental global public good? Elements of an answer…
  25. 25. Regarding the combat against desertification at national and regional scales, governments, regional and interna- tional bodies, as well as bilateral and multilateral international cooperation institutions would take part in its supply. Rural funds for the prevention and man- agement of desertification may for instance become preferred instruments to provide this good. How and by whom (regional, international organisations?) can money be put into these funds? If considered locally, the so-called “combat against desertification” public good would be supplied at the decentralised scale of rural districts, associations and NGOs. In such context, how would local populations be involved in adopting and maintaining anti-desertifica- tion practices defined at the global scale? How much room for adaptation would they be left? NGOs engaged Once harvested, post-rainy season sorghum fields are in combating desertification could be backed more left to the cattle, that can freely graze what remains largely and jointly by governments, international after reaping. Pendao, Senegal. Xavier Le Roy © IRD organisations, banks or private foundations.Production conditions for global public goods:by whom, how, and at which scale? FocusDefining GPGs implies the emergence of an autono- The United Nations Conventionmous international sovereignty and the implementation to Combat Desertification in a few words…of governance mechanisms: as soon as a public good isrecognised, the interests of countries as well as of civil This Convention, whose principle is stated in Agenda 21, wasorganisations, companies and individuals must be rep- adopted in Paris in 1994 and has been ratified by 190 countriesresented. Some experts think that opinions of develo- up to now. It is an international treaty by which Party Countriesping countries should be granted more consideration commit themselves to take concrete steps. Namely, affectedwhen it comes to the major issues affecting our planet. countries must adopt National Action Programmes to combat desertification and integrate them into their national developmentIn order to discuss GPGs and organise their production, strategies and poverty alleviation policies. They also bind them-UNDP advocates to create a G29 including the member selves to involve the civil society in defining objectives and imple-countries of the United Nations General Assembly menting actions. Signatory countries that are not subject toCommittee. The G29 would be entrusted with deciding desertification engage to support the efforts of affected countries.the actions to be carried out. How could this G29 take If combating desertification is sometime acknowledged as ainto account all the interests at stake? In this framework, GPG, governments, regional and international organisations,would not GPGs appear as club goods, restricted to a and bilateral cooperation bodies should then contribute to itslimited number of recipients? Still according to UNDP, supply. An international authority should act as a regulator.making determined goods public instead of national Could the UNCCD play this role? The debate is open…would allow to valorise comparative and mutual advan-tages. If a country or a group of countries is comparati-vely more profitable as to the production of a definiteGPG, it could be required to provide it. Organising GPGsupply could thus rely on cost and profitability studies.Desertification, global environment and public goods 23

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