Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner
Resilient Cities - Bonn 2013 - Banner

I3 - Can cities help address the challenges of land degradation?

Session Description

Facilitator: Ronan Dantec, Senator for the Loire-Atlantique Region; UCLG Spokesperson for Climate, Nantes, France


  • Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Bonn, Germany
  • Yunus Arikan, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy, ICLEI World Secretariat, Bonn, Germany (tbc)
  • Selim Yücel Güleç, Head of Foreign Relations Department, Konya Metropolitan Municipality, Konya, Turkey (tbc)
  • Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg, President of Cités Unies France and Co-President of UCLG
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), N'Djamena, Chad
  • Representative from Edmonton, Canada (tbc)

Organized in cooperation with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Every day, in every part of the world, landless farmers are driven to urban centers in search of a livelihood. That forced migration due to desertification makes itself a geo-strategic issue, because at this rate, the cities will be overpopulated and the rural areas will be empty. By 2020 an estimated 60 million people could move from the desertified areas of Sub-Saharan African towards North Africa and Europe.

Migration from rural to urban areas is often seen as a natural consequence of uneven regional development with gaps in incomes between rural and urban dwellers cited as a major incentive for people to move.  However, many other motives affect these migration flows, such as access to improved amenities, educational possibilities, and avoidance of climate change and weather-related disasters.  There are also countervailing forces that may restrict migration, such as constraints placed on migration from finance, distance, access to information, social networks and limitations set by policy.  In many countries, rural migrants are regarded as an underclass within cities. About 200,000 people migrate to cities every day. 

Cities need to ensure food, water, shelter and services for the increasing population. Municipalities could become key players in sustainable land management, addressing the man made drivers of land degradation and drought.  Cities also could play a decisive role in achieving land degradation neutrality and in promoting “joined up” rural and urban planning. Will they lead on creating a more harmonious and productive relationship between town and country to provide sustainability for the needs of all their citizens?