The Desertification and Drought Day – until this year known as The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a United Nations observance day held on 17 June each year.
Desertification and Drought Day was officially declared by the UN General Assembly as “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" (The resolution A/RES/49/115).
It aims to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations. Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world's land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.
Drought is one of the most destructive natural disasters in terms of the loss of life, arising from impacts, such as widescale crop failure, wildfires and water stress. Exacerbated by land degradation and climate change, droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, up 29% since 2000, with 55 million people affected every year. By 2050, droughts may affect an estimated three-quarters of the world’s population. It’s a global and urgent issue.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build a future that avoids, minimizes, and reverses desertification/land degradation and mitigates the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels ... to achieve a land degradation-neutral world consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Source : United Nations
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