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United Nations Convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa

United Nations (UN)

12 September 1994

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Article 1 - Use of terms

For the purposes of this Convention:

  1. "desertification" means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities;

  2. "combating desertification" includes activities which are part of the integrated development of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas for sustainable development which are aimed at:
    1. prevention and/or reduction of land degradation;
    2. rehabilitation of partly degraded land; and
    3. reclamation of desertified land;

  3. "drought" means the naturally occurring phenomenon that exists when precipitation has been significantly below normal recorded levels, causing serious hydrological imbalances that adversely affect land resource production systems;

  4. "mitigating the effects of drought" means activities related to the prediction of drought and intended to reduce the vulnerability of society and natural systems to drought as it relates to combating desertification;

  5. "land" means the terrestrial bio-productive system that comprises soil, vegetation, other biota, and the ecological and hydrological processes that operate within the system;

  6. "land degradation" means reduction or loss, in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of rainfed cropland, irrigated cropland, or range, pasture, forest and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a process or combination of processes, including processes arising from human activities and habitation patterns, such as:
    1. soil erosion caused by wind and/or water;
    2. deterioration of the physical, chemical and biological or economic properties of soil; and
    3. long-term loss of natural vegetation;

  7. "arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas" means areas, other than polar and sub-polar regions, in which the ratio of annual precipitation to potential evapotranspiration falls within the range from 0.05 to 0.65;

  8. "affected areas" means arid, semi-arid and/or dry sub-humid areas affected or threatened by desertification;

  9. "affected countries" means countries whose lands include, in whole or in part, affected areas;

  10. "regional economic integration organization" means an organization constituted by sovereign States of a given region which has competencein respect of matters governed by this Convention and has been duly authorized, in accordance with its internal procedures, to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to this Convention;

  11. "developed country Parties" means developed country Parties and regional economic integration organizations constituted by developed countries.

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