World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
The United Nations' World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is annually observed on the 17th June to highlight the urgent need to curb the desertification process.
It also aims to strengthen the visibility of the drylands issue on the international environmental agenda.
The objectives of Desertification and Drought Day are:
- To promote public awareness of the issue.
- To let people know that desertification and drought can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels.
- To strengthen implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.
Why do we observe Desertification and Drought Day? How does desertification affect you?
No matter where you live, the consequences of desertification and drought concern you.
Globally, 23 per cent of the land is no longer productive. 75 per cent has been transformed from its natural state, mostly for agriculture.
This transformation in land use is happening at a faster rate than at any other time in human history, and has accelerated over the last 50 years.
Scientists say the evolution from one state to the next is so rapid, the process is only observable over very short periods. Everyone needs to know that desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) have direct affect on their daily lives, and that everyone's daily actions can either contribute to, or help fight DLDD.
Who celebrates Desertification and Drought Day?
Anyone whose life depends on the land needs to care about it, and how land is treated by humans.
That includes each and everyone, because:
99 per cent of the calories every human being needs for a healthy life still come from the land.
Land that is healthy and resilient is the first point of defense against disasters such as droughts and flashfloods, which are becoming more frequent, long and severe.
The loss of more and more productive land is creating growing competition for land to meet the growing demand for goods and services and for ecosystem services that support life.
The next few decades will be the most critical in restoring land for sustainable future.
The problem is man-made, which means humans are also part of the solution.
What do we want people to know about desertification and drought? Sustainable land management is everyone’s business.
Together, we can restore the productivity of over 2 billion hectares of degraded land and improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people around the world.
Land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss are intimately connected, and are increasingly affecting human well-being.
Tackling these issues together is key to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals. A decade of land degradation may create irreversible damage, but a decade of land restoration may bring multiple benefits.