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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

17 June

Desertification and drought are issues of a global dimension in that they affect all regions of the world, and that joint action by the international community is needed to addres them, particularly in Africa. The United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June to be "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" by its resolution A/RES/49/115 adopted in December 1994.

UNESCO  provides scientific expertise thought its Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) and its Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB). 

Dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world‘s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. 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, and affects the world's poorest. The decisions we make every day on what to buy, eat, drink, wear and how to travel – all have an impact on land resources.

Desertification and Drought Day is observed every year to promote public awareness.  The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality (LDN) is achievable. The commemoration of the day is led by the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

"Desertification  and  drought,  which  are  a  degradation  of  environmental  health,  contribute to the collapse of biodiversity and favour the appearance of zoonoses. This is  yet  another  reminder  that  human  health  and  the  health  of  our  environment  are  deeply intertwined."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021

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