Scientists, politicians and civil society groups from across the world called upon the leaders, who are at the UN's Rio Earth Summit (Rio +20) now, to set a target for securing healthy soils and to halt land degradation.
They expressed their concern over land degradation which is causing a loss of nearly 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil annually across the world.
The call came during a programme in observance of the World Day 2012 to Combat Desertification in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil just two days before the Rio+20 Conference to be held between June 20 and 22.
The event was held under the theme "Healthy Soil Sustains Your Life: Let's Go Land-Degradation Neutral", organised by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), an official at UNCCD Komila Nabiyeva informed the FE through e-mail.
"The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind global community that desertification can be effectively tackled, solutions are possible, and key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels", Ms Nabiyeva said.
Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Jan McAlpine informed the world that each year globally 75 billion tonnes of non-renewable fertile soil is lost due to land degradation.
Stressing on the importance of soil, Ms McAlpine said: "Soil is like blood in our veins -- without it nothing on the planet will survive".
UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja pointed out that by 2030, the demand for food will increase by 50 per cent, for water by 40 per cent and for energy by 35 per cent.
"We need land to meet these needs but if we go on with business as usual, we will meet none of them," he said. "Therefore, this year's theme of the Day calls on each of us to make a voluntary commitment to become land degradation neutral".
Executive Board Member of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, Dennis Garrity expressed his hope that achieving zero net land degradation is feasible.
Mr Garrity recommended the implementation of national and local regeneration measures and a transformation towards climate smart agriculture systems.
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) representative Alexander Mueller noted that soil degradation is not only a problem in developing countries but also in developed countries like the United States of America where fertile soil has been losing at a very high rate.
Jochen Flasbarth, President of the German Federal Environment Agency, said that soil is inappropriately seen as a domestic issue.
Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) warned against the representation of small local farmers, herders and foresters as contributors to land degradation.
"Empowering the communities through access to technology and finance will move them towards improved sustainable land use and livelihoods," Mr Nwanze said.
- Hi-tech can increase rice quantity by 10pc
- Everest conquerers inspiration for nation: Hasina
- ACC waits for reports of BB, cooperatives for action
- Journalists observe anti-repression day today
- Hajj money deposit deadline extended
- Pakistan to elect new PM Friday
- Joint study group on Tipamukh to meet 'soon'
- Speed of internet and VoIP (118)
- Nadal, Serena set out stall for French Open (114)
- Inadequate bank loan for private sector (104)
- PM for judicious settlement of global water disputes (100)
- When will India redeem its pledge? (95)
- National budget vis-a-vis local budget (94)
- news digest (93)
- Toll collection over phone (89)
- 20 RMG units at Ashulia shut production (88)
- Loss of agricultural land (85)
- Bumper production, lucrative price making litchi growers happy (85)
- I can only play for Barca: Messi (84)