African Union (AU) has marked Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day in Maseru.
The theme of the year’s celebration, marked on Monday, was “Combating Desertification in Africa: Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Food Security’’.
It is aimed at raising awareness on desertification and sustainable land management among all stakeholders at community, national, regional and continental levels.
Mrs Tumusiime Peace, AU’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, said on the occasion that there was a need to step up practical messages to ensure that “our productive lands are preserved and degraded lands restored.’’
She said unless such step was taken, “ nothing would stop agriculture in Africa from encroaching on existing forests to meet the increasing demands for land and other resources vital for livelihoods.”
Tumusiime highlighted the need for rational utilisation of natural resources, including water and land, in order to secure agricultural development in Africa.
She recalled that 2014 was the AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security and the 10th anniversary of the existence of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The CAADP also has sustainable and water management as one of its pillars.
“Sustainable environmental management is, indeed, fundamental to the pursuit of food security, peace, security and stability in Africa,” the AU Commission official added.
For his part, Khotso Matla, Lesotho’s Minister of Forestry and Land Reclamation, emphasised the harmony between man and the environment as an essential requirement for sustainable national or global development.
This year marked the 12th consecutive year that Maseru has hosted the commemorations since 2002 when they were adopted by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Durban, South Africa.
The 2014 African Environment and Wangari Maathai Day was marked with a two-day media workshop to raise awareness on the challenges of desertification and sustainable land management in Africa.