The decay of the land

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.

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year 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.

2018 Theme “Land has true value – invest in it.”

Your choices determine future scenarios for sustainable growth. The 2018 World Day to Combat Desertification campaign #2018WDCD urges you to move away from unsustainable land use and make a difference by investing in the future of land under the slogan, “Land has true value — invest in it.” (source)

Every one of us has a role to play, know the true value of land and invest in it:

  • Spending money on organic and fairly trade products to avoid land degradation.
  • Making a pledge to protect and conserve the value of land.
  • Observing World Day to Combat Desertification, supporting a sustainable way of living, producing and consuming.
  • Organizing an event or launching an initiative to promote sustainable land management (SLM) and land degradation neutrality (LDN). Send the details of your event to wdcd2018@unccd.int.
  • Sharing photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Weibo accounts, from 11 to 17 June, 2018. Remember to tag @UNCCD and use the hashtag #2018WDCD.

Unlocking women’s transformative potential: The Gender Action Plan

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought poster

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) recently created a new plan to support and enhance gender-responsive policy needs. The Gender Action Plan (GAP) that will increase and strengthen the participation and leadership of women at all levels of decision-making and local implementation of the UNCCD, including drought management as well as sand and dust storms and land degradation neutrality interventions, with the aim to reach gender parity by 2030.

Women are active agents of change. Evidence shows that when women are given equal opportunities and access to resources and decision-making, communities become more prosperous and more peaceful. UNCCD parties are committed to improving the quality of life for women worldwide. This plan represents a landmark opportunity to transform gender equality and human rights into action.

Desertification and the Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares that “we are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. Specifically, Goal 15 states our resolve to halt and reverse land degradation.