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Agence France Presse

UN Warns of 70 Percent Desertification by 2025

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A partial view of the lenga's forest taken from the base of Perito Moreno glacier in 2008 in Patagonia, Argentina. Argentina has lost nearly 70 percent of its forests in a century, the Environmental Secretariat said at a UN conference on desertification. (AFP/File/Daniel Garcia)

BUENOS AIRES - Drought could parch close to 70 percent of the planet's soil by 2025 unless countries implement policies to slow desertification, a senior United Nations official has warned.

"If we cannot find a solution to this problem... in 2025, close to 70 percent could be affected," Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said Friday.

Drought currently affects at least 41 percent of the planet and environmental degradation has caused it to spike by 15 to 25 percent since 1990, according to a global climate report.

"There will not be global security without food security" in dry regions, Gnacadja said at the start of the ninth UN conference on the convention in the Argentine capital.

"A green deal is necessary" for developing countries working to combat drought, he stressed.

The next meeting on the convention is scheduled to take place in South Korea in 2010.

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