The Canadian government said it was withdrawing from the U.N. Convention to Combat Diversification because of red tape and a lack of concrete results.
The UNCCD issued a statement thanking the Canadian government for supporting the equivalent of around 3 percent of its 2011 budget and for its significant role in combating drought. A decision to become the only country to leave the convention, however, was regrettable.
"The UNCCD and its institutions work with all stakeholders and will continue to do so to safeguard the key resource base for food, water and energy security and to sharply reduce poverty and build the resilience of rural ecosystems to expected climatic shocks like droughts," the convention said in a statement.
The UNCCD added that about 60 percent of Canada's cropland is in dry areas.
An editorial in The Globe and Mail newspaper said the decision was made with little outside consultation.
"It's easy to fear the move was a short-sighted decision to scratch a line item from the budget because of a shifting focus for foreign aid financing, and with little reflection on Canada's significant interest in the topic," the editorial read. "Let's hope it is not an irreversible move."