World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is celebrated on June 17, every year.

Why is this observed?

The World Day to Combat Desertification is observed to turn degraded land into healthy land. It seeks to find a solution for combating desertification and ensuring restoration of degraded land in order to enhance food fertility.

Factors leading to desertification

Factors leading to desertification of land include several human activities and climatic variations. The land in extremely dry areas is prone to over-exploitation and inappropriate use. Factors causing weak productivity include poverty, deforestation, overgrazing, bad irrigation practices and political instability.

Significance of the day

The day is significant because it reminds and encourage people across the world to prevent land degradation. Prevention of land degradation is possible only through human efforts.  The day is crucial considering that, an estimated 1.8 billion people will be forced to live in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025. Apart from that, around 2/3 of the earth will be living under water-stressed conditions. By 2045, desertification may displace about 135 million people. Furthermore, overgrowing and never-ending demand for food, highways, raw materials, and homes has led to melting of three-quarters of Earth’s ice-free land.

History of the day

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) started celebrating this day in December 1994. The United Nations, NGOs and countries worldwide are organising events for spreading awareness on significance of this day. This day was created with the objective of turning degraded land into healthy terrain. The day was proclaimed by UNGA resolution A/RES/49/115 on January 30, 1995, a day after United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was drafted.

Theme of the day

In the year 2022, the world day to combat desertification was observed under the theme ‘Rising up from drought together.’

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