Combating desertification bears fruit

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere hides a well …
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Case Studies
Case studies compiled within the spirit of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification


How to use

1. Algeria, Africa
A rehabilitation model of traditional techniques:
Oasis irrigation and the use of the foggaras system

2. Gambia, Africa
How to reduce bush fires:
Creation of a green belt around the forest perimeter

3. Kenya, Africa
Sustainable agriculture driven by local volunteers:
Rehabilitation of the banks of the Thugi River

4. Niger, Africa
How to control the exploitation of wood:
Rural markets and domestic energy strategy

5. China, Asia
A new technique to halt desert encroachment:
Shelterbelts surrounding the oases of Xinjiang

6. India, Asia
Combating the effects of deforestation:
Tree planting carried out by women in a rural region of India

7. Uzbekistan, Asia
Rehabilitation of lands degraded by human activities:
Stabilizing the dry soil of the Aral Sea basin

8. Chile, latin America
Children combating land degradation:
A rural school creates a nursery

9. Ecuador, latin America
How to achieve both ecological and economical advantages:
The creation of live nopal fences

10. Peru, latin America
How to improve land productivity on slopes:
The rehabilitation of crop terraces

11. Spain, Europe
An European example to combat desertification:
Vegetation cover to improve olive harvests

12. Italy, Europe
A judicious system of water collection:
The restoration of ancestral techniques in Sassi of Matera


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How to use

The case studies are addressed to teachers at the end of primary school education

and make up part of the pedagogical kit on desertification devised by UNESCO and the UNCCD. They were submitted by the UNCCD national focal points and by non-governmental organisations, (NGOs) working in the field of combating desertification in response to a joint letter sent from UNESCO and UNCCD inviting them to submit examples of projects to combat desertification. Two case studies were retained from UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) within the framework of the ‘Saving the Drylands’ award. Choosing the case studies from the numerous replies received was no easy task, but the final selection attempts to provide a global vision of the root causes and consequences of drought and desertification in the different regions of the world. We would like to thank all the UNCCD national focal points and the NGOs who have participated, and in particular those involved with the case studies that were not included for reasons of a structural nature.
Attentive reading of the case studies should provide the teacher with the knowledge base necessary to help combat desertification.

In the classroom, he/she will be able to enhance his course on desertification with positive examples intended to persuade children to adopt a healthy attitude towards their environment and the scarce natural resources present in their region. The global approach of this compilation, introducing the causes and consequences of desertification as well as solutions in the continents affected, aims to raise awareness among children affected by universal environmental problems. In addition, comparing methods employed by different people will help all those concerned to think globally, enlarging the horizons for each of them.
At the end of each case study, ‘classroom activities’ are proposed that will help the teacher incorporate the case studies throughout the course.

When discussing a particular project in class, the teacher could invite the children to respond by asking them to locate the country in question on a map and compare them with their own situation. Finally, tasks including drawing assignments, questions and answers and role-playing could be assigned to complement the study.

The words underlined throughout the text are explained in the glossary at the end of the collection.

Happy reading and good work!

You’ll see. Combating desertification bears fruit!


All statistics mentioned in this document are provided by the United Nations World Statistics Pocketbook (United Nations publications, 2007)