Land preservation and restoration will be under the spotlight at the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting, ahead of the United Nations COP14 in India in September.

Nearly fifty representatives from African countries are attending the meeting in Pretoria to discuss a regional position on climate change with the degradation of land on the African continent top of the agenda.

Land has also become a matter of survival for humanity as food security continues to be threatened by climate change.

Reversing land degradation and its outcomes while accelerating positive achievements will be the core of the conference.

Deputy minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Maggie Sotyu says “South hopes COP14 will birth solutions that will foster unity amongst us, so to find solutions that can fight climate change on the continent.”

Executive Secretariat to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Ibrahim Thiaw says West Africa presents a serious warning for the entire world.

β€œAnd I want us to consider relations between land, peace and security. When people fight for access to land and water, the problems we are facing there, it is not that communities are hating each other … it is not because a tribe does not like another tribe. It is surely competition over absence of lack of water. We have a growing population on one hand and depleting resources on the other hand. So, this is a major problem related to peace and security.”

The New Dehli agenda includes drought, desertification and food security.

One of the main concerns is the effect climate change has on food security on the African continent.

The leaders will focus on the over 1.3 billion people who rely directly on land to survive. They are often compromised by land degradation and severe drought.

The conference will take place in the first week of September.