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Deserts need joint action

posted on 17/04/2005: 1771 views

The vulnerability of desert ecosystems to changes caused by human activity is among the core development issues faced by the desert people. This was said by Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, at the Second Festival of the Cultures and Civilisations of the World Deserts, which opened in Dubai yesterday.

At a ceremony attended by General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria, and other top officials, Mbeki said desertification in recent times has been accelerated largely by human interventions in the environment.

"As responsible governments we are today called upon to be increasingly aware of such human induced and natural forces when developing our national and global programmes for sustainable development, while, at the same time, ensuring that we limit human influences on sensitive natural systems, he added.

The challenges the desert regions face require a collective response from all, he said, adding that the desert remained extremely vulnerable to global warming and climate changes.

At the festival, 40 ministers of environment, culture and tourism endorsed a charter on world deserts to achieve sustainable development without compromising the ecosystem. The festival was launched with a variety of programmes. A short film illustrating the growth and development of Dubai was screened. About 60 children from the UAE sang a song in memory of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. (The Gulf News)


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