The federal government has rejoined the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, reversing a Harper-era decision in 2013 that made Canada the only country to have abandoned the international treaty.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau timed the announcement to coincide with World Day to Combat Desertification June 17.
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“On this day, we recognize that desertification is linked to many of Canada’s development priorities, such as food security, agriculture, peace and security, access to water, livestock production, and renewable energy,” they said in a joint release. “Canada recognizes not just the link between land degradation and climate change, but also the risks that desertification poses to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. We are coordinating with our international partners to implement the 2030 Agenda and its ambitious objective to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change.”
Earlier in June, civil society groups circulated a letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dion to rejoin the convention. “The availability of healthy and productive land is a prerequisite for sustainable economic development,” the letter stated. “Combatting desertification, and other good land management practices, help capture the substantial [climate change] mitigation potential of the land sector, and can also help to build resilience to climate impacts by providing protection against droughts, flooding, landslides, and erosion.”
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