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UN General Assembly begins

Intern Beth Stortroen attended one of the early sessions and reports:

In its first high-level meeting at the United Nations, the heads of state tackled the issue of Desertification on Tuesday 20 September 2011.  Desertification is explained as the subtle and complex process of deterioration of land in the world’s dry lands that is home to over 2 billion people. This issue, although new to the General Assembly, has devastating implications; poverty, food security and deteriorating land conditions. While tackling this global issue, the heads of state discussed their countries experiences with Desertification and what is being done to eradicate its causes.

Zimbabwe, and their “Million Tree Campaign,” presented a compelling plan for the future of Desertification on their lands. Although simple in its design, planting trees can counteract climate change, improve access to water and regenerate soil to increase its productivity to name a few of its positive outcomes.  According to UNEP, (United Nations Environment Programme) the world would have to plant 10 billion trees during 10 years to repair the damage done during the last 10 years. The question however remains, what seems like a modest plan, can it be implemented in some of the rural areas most affected by desertification and help combat climate change and poverty?