Australian Actions to Combat Desertification and Land Degradation

National Report by Australia on Measures Taken to Support Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
Commonwealth Intergovernmental Working Group for the UNCCD, April 2002

Desertification related activities currently supported by the Australian Government through AusAID

Bilateral Partnerships

Country Activity Name 1999/00
China Alxa Environment Rehabilitation $1 335 511 $936 817 $2 733 061 $2 603 078 $14.2
China Inner Mongolia Grassland Conservation - Phase I $1 390 477 $519 435 $43 588 $0 $6.6
China Inner Mongolia Grassland Conservation - Phase II $0 $9357 $303 000 $2 300 000 $5.8
China Tarim Basin II $892 190 $0 $0 $0 $3.0
Pakistan Agroforestry/Salinity Control $662 668 $1 029 310 $106 741 $375 000 $4.2
India Himachal Pradesh Sustainable Rural Livelihoods $280 206 $40 000 $610 101 $500 000 $1.1
Nepal Community Resource Management Conservation $2 175 660 $2 306 149 $1 600 878 $1 000 000 $10.1
South Africa Institutional Strengthening for the Department of Agriculture $105 365 $293 624 $1 399 634 $1 049 248 $3.9
Zimbabwe Smallholder Dry Areas Resource Management - Phase I $532 975 $200 282 $0 $0 $3.9
Zimbabwe Smallholder Dry Areas Resource Management - Phase II $561 800 $1 098 154 $1 700 000 $1 200 000 $5.7
Total $7 831 487 $6 139 504 $8 497 003 $9 027 326 $58.5

China: Alxa Environment Rehabilitation Project

Commenced May 2001; estimated completion June 2006.

This project aims to control desertification and eventually restore ecological balance to degraded land through improved environmental management techniques. It is intended that this will improve living standards of the rural poor. This should especially be the case in desert fringe areas where poverty leads to overexploitation of natural resources and puts excessive pressure on already degraded eco-systems.

China: Inner Mongolia Grasslands Conservation

Commenced June 1996; Phase I completed April 2001; Phase II estimated to commence in late 2002

The objectives of the first phase of this project were to: introduce a range of sustainable and profitable village level enterprises; assist with the development and implementation of policies and strategies designed to improve the sustainable management and utilisation of grasslands; upgrade the standards of animal husbandry; and strengthen the Xingan Animal Husbandry Bureau.

The objectives of the second phase are:

  • to analyse and monitor policy relating to sustainable grassland management and influence the ongoing development of regulations;
  • to implement grassland management policy in selected sumu with an emphasis on community education and participation;
  • to develop and effectively extend appropriate farm management practices to stimulate behavioural change and support user rights implementation; and
  • to effectively manage, co-ordinate and monitor the project.

This project will build on the achievements of the original project, with the continuing goal of sustainable utilisation of Xingan League's grassland resources for livestock production. The original design for this phase has been significantly revised, placing greater emphasis on the institutional strengthening required to ensure the sustainability of grassland management policies implemented during the original project and expand the established system of user rights. The project will also refine the focus of a Chinese-funded credit scheme, explore rural capital formation and further improve livestock productivity.

China: The Tarim Basin II Project

Commenced July 1998; estimated completion April 2003

The Tarim Basin II Project, located in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, is intended to: increase incomes of poor minority farmers through sustainable irrigated agricultural development (irrigation system rehabilitation, land reclamation and low yield improvement using water saved due to system improvements); establish mechanisms for sustainable development and management of water resources in the Tarim Basin; and partially restore the "green corridor" (riverine forests and pastures in the lower reaches of the Tarim River). The total cost of the Tarim II project is around $US 300 million, the majority of which is being financed by the World Bank. Australia is contributing $US 2 million.

Pakistan: Agroforestry/Salinity Control

Commenced April 1998; estimated completion March 2003

The goal of the Project is to develop and promote sustainable biological farming systems for reclamation and rehabilitation of saline and waterlogged lands to improve community livelihoods in the Punjab Province. The primary focus of the project is on developing productive and profitable farming systems for these lands. A central aspect is the development of community organisations to promote demonstration and adoption of appropriate and sustainable biologically-based technologies. These technologies include planting salt-tolerant trees, shrubs, grasses and crops and other biological interventions to reduce the effects of salinity and waterlogging.

India: Himachal Pradesh Sustainable Rural Livelihoods

Commenced June 1999; estimated completion July 2002

Large areas of the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh need environmental protection. Tree cover has been depleted, soil erosion has increased and water tables have fallen. A Feasibility Design Team has carried out a study in Himachal Pradesh to design a feasible and sustainable rural livelihoods project which will focus on community and organisational needs and their impact on the environment.

Nepal: Community Resource Management Conservation

(Current Phase) Commenced May 1997; estimated completion April 2002

This project is implementing activities aimed at income generation for the poor, increasing subsistence production, improving community self-reliance and conservation of the environment. The project will build upon the literacy, water supply and community forest management activities of the Nepal Australia Community Forest Project Phase 4 that was completed in April 1997.

Plans are being finalised to implement a bridging phase between the current project and a new stage for community forestry in Nepal. The design for this stage will be completed by the end of February 2002.

South Africa: Institutional Strengthening for the Department of Agriculture

Commenced March 2001; estimated completion June 2004

The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of the National Department of Agriculture (NDA), Northern Province Department of Agriculture and other relevant South African Government agencies and community groups to effectively implement the South African Landcare program.

Planned Outputs include the development and implementation of a strategic plan for the Landcare Program, eight model Landcare projects, training, awareness raising among key politicians, and the development of effective and efficient project management and monitoring systems.

Zimbabwe: IFAD-Smallholder Dry Areas Resource Management

Commenced March 1995; estimated completion October 2004

Australia is co-financing this project with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project is administered through the United Nations Operations Program (UNOPS) and aims to provide poorer people living in selected Communal Areas with enhanced food security and incomes, based on sustainable and drought-tolerant resource management by local communities. Specific activities include the provision of improved seeds, draft animal power, micro-irrigation development and funds for credit. A second phase of the project commenced in May 2000 to serve communal areas in the provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland South.

Multilateral Partnerships

The Australian Government, through AusAID, provides annual contributions to a range of multilateral agencies, which either directly or indirectly combat desertification. These agencies include development banks, international environment organisations, United Nations agencies and United Nations specialised agencies.

For example, Australia provides support to the World Bank, whose assistance in controlling land degradation totalled $US 1.8 billion for the period 1990-1999. Additionally, Australia provides support to the Global Environment Facility, which has allocated since 1991 more than $US 350 million to combat desertification and deforestation.

Other specific multilateral agencies that deal with desertification and receive AusAID funding include the United Nations Environment Program ($650 000 in 2001/02) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development ($1.5 million in 2001/02).

NGO Partnerships

In 2000/01 the Australian Government, through AusAID, provided $128 million for aid activities implemented through Australian NGOs. The estimated NGO figure for the 2001/02 financial year is $115.6 million. Many NGO activities target southern Africa and address land degradation.