The ‘United Nations Convention to combat desertification’ was formed in 1994 after desertification was identified as the biggest challenge to sustainable development at the Rio Earth Summit (UNCCD 2014). The twitter feed is mostly comprised of tweets about soil and food security, both of which need to be addressed in order to achieve the three pillars of sustainable development. The literature linked through the twitter feed is centred on Africa, as it is the country that is most harshly affected by desertification. Often the twitter feed makes reference to institutions like the IPCC and other international non-governmental organisations as a form of authority.

Nation states are addressed separately, giving the impression the UNCCD identifies that a ‘one size fits all’ development model can be used in all environments and that good local, international and global development governance is required in all cases. This is a double edged blade, as it gives nation-states individual empowerment and culturally relevant development methods, but also creates a discourse of separation rather than cooperation. Twitter feed itself is directed at ‘community’ by asking for community input and most tweets concern a community.

The feed is full of questions, and there are little statements, this mirrors the necessity of community involvement in development, it is almost as though twitter is being used as a bottom up information dissemination, even if the policies that the organisation implements and their foundations follow an institutional top down approach.

It addresses multiple contributors to desertification, which are also results of desertification such as climate change, political unrest and natural disasters, displaying the symbiotic relationship between the environment and sustainable development. The feed acknowledges the pillars of sustainable development, through addressing environmental issues through a social means and firsthand appealing to the reader’s individual sense of social justice (Koshey, Mataki & Lal 2008).

Many of the questions are thought provoking and directed at the individual in trying to get them to think about issues of desertification. It is possible that we might say that this is a form of self-governance as it seeks to provoke the individual with these questions with the aim of having self-governing individuals as agents of thought and action. These types of tweets are not telling you what to do explicitly, but rather they try to appeal to an individual’s moral senses in the hope that they will then do the ‘right thing.


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