Produced in partnership withIFAD, GM, Dev.TV, oneplanet, UNEP, IIED

BBC A BBC World television series to mark the International Year of Deserts and Desertification

10th November: China

Friday at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30


Since Mao’s Great Leap Forward nearly 50 years ago, China has lost an area the size of Greenland to the desert. Waking up to the scale of the crisis, the government is mobilizing people and resources on a mass scale. It aims to reclaim a quarter of a million square kilometres of land lost to the desert by 2020. Presenter Jennifer Wang goes to a community on the frontline in Inner Mongolia to see what progress has been made.


17th November: Jordan

Friday at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30

BBC series: JordanIn Jordan the challenge is to stop the entire Kingdom from turning to desert – a growing problem due to persistent drought and a population swollen by refugees from Middle East conflicts. Competition for water is so severe that even the legendary Dead Sea could disappear. TV presenter Rula Amin travels the length of Jordan and discovers that an IFAD-supported project working on the front lines of the crisis in the country’s driest southern governates provides innovative solutions as well as lessons for other countries.

video Watch video (duration: 22’):


24th November: Tanzania

Friday at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30
In 2006 Tanzania experienced a severe drought. For the first time major rivers stopped flowing and there were water shortages even in Dar es Salaam. For TV reporter Kanky Mwaigomile and other Tanzanians living downstream, the drought came as a wake-up call. In this installment, we go on a journey with Kanky to the forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains and discover that these water towers for the country are threatened by illegal loggers, charcoal makers and land-grabbers.


1st December: Morocco

Friday at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30

Today the main threat to already scarce Saharan grazing lands is not drought but tourism. With over 9 million tourists per year in Morocco and Tunisia alone, and the craze for rallies brought on by the Paris-Dakar race, hundreds of thousands of vehicles travel all over the Moroccan Sahara each year. As a result, the nomads’ way of life, so finely attuned to the desert, appears doomed as the desert itself becomes ‘desertified’ by these unsustainable activities. Host Ali Sbai, himself born in a tent to a nomad family, makes a passionate case for some innovative solutions.


8th December: The Wider Caribbean

Friday 8th at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30

This is a film about the contrasting fortunes of two countries, Costa Rica and Haiti. In densely populated Haiti, 30 million tons of arable lands disappear every year, impoverishing the soil and people. A generation ago, Costa Rica looked to be heading in the same direction but then decided to take the environment into account in all its development plans. Today, tourists clamour to visit Costa Rica while Haitians clamour to leave their country. Is this simply a case of good government versus bad? Ecologist Carlos Lopez Alberto looks for answers.


15th December: Niger

Friday 15th at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30

Niger, on the fringes of the Sahel, is on the front line of an advancing desert. Villages such as Limandi, in the Diffa Department, have been abandoned by residents forced out by growing dunes. It is the classic image of desertification. And yet, despite a major drought, in this film there is strong evidence that some villagers are reversing the trend and re-greening their farms and pastures.


22nd December: Spain

Friday 22nd at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30

Desertification is often considered to be a problem afflicting poor nations. But large areas of developed countries, such as Australia, Spain and the United States of America,  are also affected on a huge scale. In this film we go to Spain where a growing percentage of the country is defined as either severely or moderately desertified. The main problem is the escalating demand for water. There are now more than half a million illegal bore holes watering semi-arid areas to provide fruit crops to supermarkets in Northern Europe. Alfredo Fernandez looks at the crisis.


29th December: India

Friday 29th at 20:30 GMT
Repeated: Saturday at 06:30, Monday at 10:30, Tuesday at 15:30 & 19:30 (in South Asia only), Wednesday at 02:30 (not Asia Pacific or South Asia) & 08:30

In the coastal regions of Gujarat, the local population has increased by 62  per cent in just 20 years, creating an increased need for water for domestic consumption and farming. But when too much fresh groundwater is pumped from aquifers close to seawater, the change in gradients causes salt water to flow into wells. With India’s demand for water increasing exponentially, this is a recipe for disaster. Padma Damodaran goes in search of solutions to this silent crisis.

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