World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Theme & History

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: Make the Land Good now to Build a Better Tomorrow

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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a day to highlight the issues of desertification and drought at a global level and a combined effort is required to overcome the problem of land degradation. This day is the observance made by the United Nations so as to raise public awareness and remind the entire globe that Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) is attainable. 

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: Key Points

  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021 highlights the need to turn a degraded land into a productive one as it generates employment, income and helps in building natural ecosystems. 
  • With Land restoration and afforestation the problem of climate change will also improve. 
  • This day was made official by the United Nations in the year 1995. Every year a dedicated theme is being generated so as to raise awareness amongst the people about its need. 
  • With a dedicated theme, various innovative events, virtual online meetings are organised. Along with that various awards, certificates are given so as to keep the volunteers motivated on this social cause. 
  • This year’s event is based on the theme of “Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land.”
  • This year the events include the launching of Global Assessment Report on Drought, declaration of winners for Land for Life and a high level meeting summoned by Costa Rican President after the observance of the major event. 
  • It is the need of the hour for everyone to understand that with such rapidly changing conditions, land restoration has become the need of the hour now. And that’s why the UN is urging everyone to contribute for the same. 

What Is Desertification and Drought Day? 

Desertification and Drought day is a day that lays its emphasis on turning barren land into a productive one so as to derive benefits from it and bring ecosystems back to its original form. This day was made official by the United Nations in 1995. Since then this day is officially named as “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” (Under resolution A/RES/49/115)

This day is an observance initiated by the United Nations and came into existence amid rising loss in the ecosystem and natural biodiversity, increasing greenhouse effect and thus resulting in climate change. The main goals of this day are listed below:

  • Spread awareness about this global cause and urge people to participate in this movement as much as they can so as to save our planet for the future. 
  • To make people know that Desertification and Drought are manageable, all you need is an active support from the people. 
  • Generate support and consolidate implementation of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in countries having problems of drought especially that lies near to the equator like Africa. 

What Is the History of World Day to Combat Desertification & Drought? 

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought was acknowledged in December 1994. It was made official on January 30,1995 under the resolution A/RES/49/115. Every year the UN declares a specialized theme for the day and arranges various events and activities so as to generate awareness about degrading quality of land and there is a need to restore it amongst the common public across the entire globe. 

What Is the Theme for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021? 

Every year the UN sets up a special unique theme so as to attract people into this social cause. The theme for the year 2021 is “Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land”. Activities and events involving protection enhancement and restoration of natural ecosystems will hasten the recovery of countries and economies in the post COVID-19 era is the message this day wants to convey to the entire globe. 

Why Do We Observe Desertification & Drought Day? 

It is quite a common question that can come into anyone’s mind that how does desertification affect us? The answer is quite simple as well. Desertification is related to each and every human being directly and indirectly. With 23 percent of the global land as non productive now and 75 percent of the land has been changed from its natural state in no time. This rapid change in the state of land being used by disturbing nature is creating climate change and inviting greenhouse gases by tampering the amount of natural biodiversity. 

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This sudden surge in the past 50 years is threatening for the entire globe as it is affecting people now and will affect the future generations as well. Therefore to save our planet we need to make a move. As the problem is cumulative, the movement  should also be cumulative. Everyone should understand that their efforts can directly help us combat the fight against Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD)

How to Celebrate Desertification & Drought Day 2021? 

Celebrations of this day are more a collective effort as everyone can contribute to this social cause. The importance of our motherland starts from within as it is the giver of our most needs. It is very hard to imagine survival without it. 

  • The United Nations has organised two online events this year under its respected theme so as to elaborate the topic for the general public.
    • Broadcast of a high level meeting on the topic on June 14 between 10:00-18:00 (EST).
    • On June 17th, there is an official event organised by the United Nations between 9:00-15:00 (CEST). A special report about combating a drought to have a sustainable world out of it will be disclosed in the event. Watch the live broadcast to know more. 
  • The UN has invited people from around the globe to share pictures of their efforts done in support of land restoration so that they can share it on their website. They have invited emails in regard to this on their email id DDD2021@unccd.int.
  • As everyone has a part to live in the coming future so everyone has a part to play. That’s why The UN is urging people to restore land in the UN decade of ecosystem restoration as this decade is very critical from the point of view of restoration of land and biodiversity. 
  • Various people from different countries are participating at their levels from around the globe to generate public awareness and also motivating other people to understand the cause. These countries include Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Zambia, China, India, Lebanon, Mongolia, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, UAE, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Panama. 
  • Campaign materials and Short film series are uploaded for the common public so as to spread the word and generate awareness about the need to have land restoration. 
  • The UN has also organised a Children’s art competition 2021 to draw and share the sketch of the world they would like to live in. The UN has invited children from across the globe to participate in this competition, details of which are mentioned on their official website. Along with that they have also decided to send gifts and a certificate to the best six arts submitted. 
  • A dedicated hashtag #DesertificationAndDroughtDay and #RestorationLandRecovery is made to trend on the social media platform twitter so as to generate awareness amongst the people. 

The UN’s Online Events: At a Glance

Along with urging the entire globe UN has also organised online events that will be broadcasted live on 17th June. Some details of that event are mentioned below, however the complete details will be available on their official website:

  • A Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Drought will be launched on June 17th. And before that on Tuesday June 15, a pre launch briefing will be given. GAR is published once every 2 years by UN Disaster Risk Reduction, the last report on drought was published in the year 2019. It is going to take place on June 17 between 14:00-14:45 CEST. Webinar Registration-Zoom is available on UNCCD official website. 
  • Amongst the finalized 12 contestants from 11 countries (Australia, Colombia, Ecuador, Eritrea, India, Mozambique, Niger, Republic of Korea, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the winners of Land for Life will be declared in the event. The Land for Life winners are declared every 2 years observing the changemakers with the amount of social work and public awareness generated in regard to the Land restoration. The winner will be declared in the global online programme starting at 9:00 CEST. The link to join the meeting will be available on the official website of UNCCD. 
  • Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada and Minister of Environment and Energy Andrea Meza Murillo will summon a high level meeting consisting of world leaders so as to set a platform for restoration of 1 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 so as to speed up the post COVID-19 recovery. This meeting will take place on June 17 between 15:00-16:00 CEST. It will be broadcasted live and the link will be available on the official website of UNCCD. 
Credit: United Nations

Who Celebrates Desertification and Drought Day? 

We the people of the earth whose lifestyle is directly impacted because of desertification have our responsibilities to observe this day and let this initiative reach every home in order to save our mother earth from degradation. We are totally dependent on land for our survival, so it’s our job to give it something in return. Everyone is a part of this movement because:

  • With the decreasing amount of productive land, it is creating problems to satisfy the demand of goods and services for the ecosystem to support life. 
  • With a good and productive land it acts as a resistance to various natural calamities such as flash floods, droughts but with such degradation in front of our eyes, these natural calamities are becoming more severe day by day and ruining our lives as well. 
  • 99 percent of our calories are derived from productive land. The health of a land is directly proportional to the health of humans. Maybe we are not able to observe that in our surroundings but if we zoom out a bit and see it on a global level, we will feel the difference. 
  • Sustainable land development can improve the life of billions of people around the globe. With a collective effort we can restore almost 2 billion hectares of land and provide livelihood to almost 1.3 billion people across the globe. 
  • A collective effort for a decade in the field of land restoration can give us benefits that we can’t even imagine. 
  • Today, everyone is discussing how to achieve many sustainable goals. The answer lies in the fact that for achieving sustainable goals we need to understand the relationship between land degradation, biodiversity and climate change as they together can take us to sustainable development. 
  • Humans were the one who created the problem so accordingly humans will be the one who are going to solve it. 

Did You Know? 

Let us go through some unheard facts about Desertification, Land Degradation and Droughts:

  • Approximately 3.2 billion people are getting adversely affected by the problem of land degradation. 
  • Change in land use has paved the way for various infectious diseases in humans in which 60% are zoonotic. 
  • So as to meet the demand of food, raw material and human settlement, around three quarters of the ice free land has been transformed. 
  • With such land degradation, increase in greenhouse gases the overall temperature of the entire globe is rapidly increasing. It is further leading to melting of our ice belts which are increasing the level of water inside water bodies at an alarming rate which can give rise to various natural calamities. One of such related events was the depletion of the Ozone layer. 
  • 170 countries were affected by desertification, land degradation or drought by 2018.
  • Various countries came forward and pledged to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 at an expected cost of US 1.67 trillion dollars. Approximately half of these pledges are commitments from 115 countries, now let’s see where it goes. 
  • Costa Rica(Host of this year’s event) once became the victim of desertification but with its efforts the country turned the situation down and evolved out as the first country to reverse effects of deforestation and land degradation. 
  • 2.5 percent of the COVID-19 stimulus packages are dedicated to environment friendly green activities. 
  • Drought costs lives, around 70 countries are affected regularly by drought in major and minor ways. 
  • Only 3 countries were having the plans to tackle and manage the drought situation in 2015.
  • To overcome the situation of drought, today 73 countries are working with UNCCD to make sure that it doesn’t turn into a disaster. 

Significance of World Day to Combat Desertification & Drought Day

This day aims at generating public awareness about the day and the need to observe it. Along with that the way to handle problems like Desertification and Drought are also explained by the UN via an online platform to the entire globe. Since the UN is a global organization, it lays the foundation for its journey for the next few years and declares its plans for the years to come. This day might be a new term for many of the individuals but with the problem rising, there is a need to educate the individuals about the same. People educate individuals on this day about the need to observe the day and also urge them to participate and cooperate at all levels so that their efforts can enhance and strengthen the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).


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