The Congress finds that—
(1) desertification affects approximately one-sixth of the world's population and one-quarter of the total land area;
(2) over 1,000,000 hectares of Africa are affected by desertification;
(3) dryland degradation is an underlying cause of recurrent famine in Africa;
(4) the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that desertification costs the world $42,000,000,000 a year, not including incalculable costs in human suffering; and
(5) the United States can strengthen its partnerships throughout Africa and other countries affected by desertification, help alleviate social and economic crises caused by misuse of natural resources, and reduce dependence on foreign aid, by taking a leading role to combat desertification.
(b) Sense of the Congress
It is the sense of the Congress that the United States should expeditiously work with the international community, particularly Africa and other countries affected by desertification, to—
(1) strengthen international cooperation to combat desertification;
(2) promote the development of national and regional strategies to address desertification and increase public awareness of this serious problem and its effects;
(3) develop and implement national action programs that identify the causes of desertification and measures to address it; and
(4) recognize the essential role of local governments and nongovernmental organizations in developing and implementing measures to address desertification.