World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021: This year the day focuses on turning degraded land into healthy land. According to Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) "Land restoration can contribute greatly to post-COVID19 economic recovery. Investing in land restoration creates jobs and generates economic benefits, and could provide livelihoods at a time when hundreds of millions of jobs are being lost".
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a unique event that reminds people in the world that land degradation neutrality can be achieved when there will be cooperation at all levels, strong involvement of the community, and problem-solving. The day also celebrates the progress made by the countries on sustainable land management and what should be done in the world so that land degradation neutrality will provide a solid basis for poverty reduction, food, water security, climate change, mitigation, and adaptation.
What is Desertification?
Desertification is the degradation of land in various areas like arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid. Primarily, it is caused by human activities and then by climatic variations. It does not mean an expansion of existing deserts but it is caused due to dryland ecosystems, deforestation, overgrazing, bad irrigation practices, etc. which affects the productivity of the land.
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021: Theme
The theme of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021 is “Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land”.
The theme of 2019 for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought was “Let’s Grow the Future Together”.
In 2019, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) celebrates the 25th year of progress made by countries on sustainable land management. Also, UNCCD looks broad picture for the next 25 years to achieve land degradation neutrality. The campaign slogan for the 25th anniversary is "Let's grow the future longer" which is supported by WDCD. The Convention (25th anniversary) on 17 June, 2019 is in Ankara and hosted by the government of Turkey.
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: History
Since 1995 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on 17 June, 2019. As, in 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June as "The World Day to Combat Desertification" to raise public awareness about the issue and implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification especially in those areas which are experiencing serious drought or desertification.
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: Key issues
- Land and Drought: According to UN, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity by 2025, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions.
- Land and Human Security: 135 million people by 2045 may be displaced due to desertification.
- Land and Climate: To store up to 3 billion tons of carbon annually, restoration of the soils of degraded ecosystems is required.
What are the goals of Desertification and Sustainable Development?
The Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 declares that "we are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. Specifically, Goal 15 states our resolve to halt and reverse land degradation.
So, we can say that World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is an event to educate the public related to the issues of combating desertification and drought. This day also addresses problems caused due to drought and desertification.