UN Observance: World Day to Combat Desertification, June 17


“Without a long-term solution, desertification and land degradation will not only affect food supply but lead to increased migration and threaten the stability of many nations and regions. This is why world leaders made land degradation neutrality one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


shutterstock_367745993Desertification is a phenomenon that ranks among the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Yet most people haven’t heard of it or don’t understand it. Help combat this issue on Wednesday June 17, by joining the commemoration of the World Day to Combat Desertification, under the 2016 theme “Inclusive cooperation for achieving land degradation neutrality”.

With the slogan, ‘Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People’, the 2016 observance calls for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals.

There is probably no greater issue than land in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that touches everyone. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear and the houses we live – it all stems from land resources. In order to “leave no one behind” as proclaimed in the new Sustainable Development Goals, achieving land degradation neutrality needs to be in the forefront to meet our requirements and develop sustainability.

Theme and slogan

shutterstock_432148528Inclusive cooperation among all actors is key for making Land Degradation Neutrality a fundamental solution for achieving SDGs. The slogan, “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.” addresses the importance of comprehensive participation and cooperation in working towards achieving Land Degradation Neutrality.

Global observance

The global observance event on 17 June 2016 will be held in Beijing, China, hosted by the State Forestry Administration of China (SFA).  In 2013, China embarked on the new development strategy, “The Belt and Road,” aiming to strengthen cooperation among countries primarily in Eurasia. Since then, it has been promoting green and low-carbon infrastructure construction in cooperation with the neighboring countries connected by the historic Silk Road.

By organizing the global observance in China, the 2016 WDCD will demonstrate how Land Degradation Neutrality can be a critical element for achieving other sustainable development goals, especially for promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth. At the global observance, the host country will announce the “One Belt and One Road Joint Action to Combating Desertification Initiative” together with interested countries and stakeholders.

Some key facts about desertification

  • 74% of the poor (42% of the very and 32% of the moderately poor) are directly affected by land degradation globally.
  • 6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52% of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.
  • Land degradation affects 1,5 billion people globally.

Latin America Caribbean Drought Atlas

shutterstock_432005773To find out more about drought frequency in the Caribbean Region please consult the following map room available here: http://www.climatedatalibrary.cl/CAZALAC/maproom/Historical/index.html

About WDCD

The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

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