June 17 is observed as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought every year. As the name suggests, this day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly to raise public support and awareness in the international community to implement ways of cooperation and efforts to combat desertification across the world. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was established in 1944, as a legally binding convention that links environment and development to sustainable land management. Let us delve a little deeper to understand the need and relevance behind the existence of this day.
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This Blog Includes:
What is Desertification?
Desertification is an expanding environmental issue. It is a process of land degradation in which fertile land loses its productivity and becomes desert. The United Nations officially defines it as “land degradation in typically dry areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities.”
The main causes of drought and desertification can be:
- Excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides
- Climate change
“Land restoration can contribute greatly to post-COVID 19 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: Theme 2021
This year the theme is Restoration. Land. Recovery: We build back better with healthy land. Keeping in mind the economic imbalance caused in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and the worldwide lockdown that followed, a better relationship with nature and economic recovery have become the need of the hour!
This year’s theme of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought aims at transforming deserted land into productive and fertile land. This initiative will ultimately, achieve the following goals:
- Bring strong ecosystem resilience
- Create food security
- Tackle the problem of unemployment
- Combat the effects of climate change
- Accelerating progress of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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History and Significance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought was introduced in 1994 by the UN General Assembly on 17th June in its 49th session. Acknowledging the fact that desertification and drought is a critical global issue, especially in Africa, the UN General Assembly, on the same day, the same year, adopted the implementation of The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
“Remember on World Day to combat desertification and drought that forests keep drylands working and food grows where the water flows”
The significance of this day lies in recognizing the importance of cooperation and joint action by the international community in implementing ways to combat desertification and drought.
The convention focuses on the areas most likely to be extremely vulnerable to drought and desertification, particularly, Africa. 2010-2020 has been officially recognised as the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification (UNDDD).
Related Read: Essay on Save Our Earth
Past Year’s Themes
|2021||Restoration, land and recovery. We build back better with healthy land|
|2020||Food. Feed. Fibre|
|2019||Let’s Grow the Future Together|
|2018||Land has true value. Invest in it|
|2017||#2017 WDCD Link Between land degradation and Migration|
|2016||Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.|
|2015||No such thing as a free lunch. Invest in healthy soil|
|2014||Land Belongs to the Future – Let’s Climate Proof It|
|2013||Don’t let our Future Dry Up|
|2012||Healthy Soil Sustains Your Life: Let’s go Land -Degradation Neutral|
|2011||Plant for your future|
|2010||Enhancing Soils Anywhere Enhances Life Everywhere|
|2009||Conserving land and water = Securing our common future|
|2008||Combating land degradation for sustainable agriculture|
|2007||Desertification and Climate Change – One Global Challenge|
|2006||The Beauty of Deserts – The Challenge of Desertification|
“If we keep producing and consuming, as usual, we will eat into the planet’s capacity to sustain life until there is nothing left but scraps. We all need to make better choices about what we eat and what we wear to help protect and restore the land.”
The logo of UNCCD was designed by Beth Johnson in 2017 to demonstrate the joint effort of the global community towards a sustainable future
- The landscape represents land stewardship.
- The hand showing human presence.
- Nature suggests hope, progress and life.
- The circle symbolises an inclusive convention with a global reach.
- The traditional UN laurel wreath demanding respect and demonstrating authority.
Role of the Community
The main agenda of the 196 states that are a part of the UNCCD and the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is to mobilise the local public and encourage them to participate in the initiatives aimed at improving land degradation. The joint effort of people in carrying out activities like reforestation and other sustainable development practices will help towards eradicating desertification of land and the possibility of droughts.
On this day, the organisations, states and other stakeholders associated with the UNCCD launch various outreach programmes and awareness campaigns to try and educate the people, especially those involved in agriculture about various practices that they can incorporate in their use of land to protect soil fertility and to minimise land degradation as much as possible.
“Join the fight, Conserve Land and Energy and secure our common future by preventing desertification and droughts. Best wishes on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought”
The major cause of land degradation and ultimately, desertification is man-made activities. Humans continue to exploit nature’s land to fulfil their unlimited and never-ending wants. On this day, individuals and organisations across the world hold discussions and workshops to highlight the implications of such activities. People need to take necessary steps to combat this issue before the whole world turns into one big desert. We have a huge role to play because the future of the whole planet is at stake!
The goal of 2021 is to recover from the implications that the Covid-19 stormed upon us. We need to understand that land has a huge role to play in our quest to recover from the economic and climatic crises that came with Covid-19. Don’t forget that even a small step can go a long way.
Related Read: Essay on Sustainable Development
List of Organisations working to Combat Drought and Desertification in India
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is also a day to honor organisations, individuals and governments that work tirelessly to preserve land, soil and our forests across the world. Let’s honor these organisations on this day for their efforts and dedication to this noble cause. Here are some organisations you can contribute towards and help them raise awareness about the long -term impact of land drought and desertification-
- Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN)
- Dreams Alive
- AARDE Foundation
- Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA)
- Centre For Dignity (CFD)
- Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS)
We hope this article helped you gain some insight into the gravity of the issue of desertification and drought and taught you the significance of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Hopeful you feel inspired to take the required steps towards sustainability. For more latest news and updates, follow Leverage Edu on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram.