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The following Primer is intended to help guide the efforts of citizen groups and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) interested in promoting policies and practices that help stop the spread of desertification. The Primer was developed by The Global Citizens Initiative (TGCI), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat and EarthAction. It draws on the themes discussed at the World Community Forum on Desertification held from February 28 to March 9 2012 sponsored by these three organizations, and on documents and resource materials developed by UNCCD and EarthAction.
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, commonly referred to as drylands. A certain amount of land degradation occurs everywhere but dryland ecosystems are extremely vulnerable and often give rise to unsustainable land use practices. Drylands become degraded when water, soils and vegetation are used unsustainably.