World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on June 17 every year.
- This year, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) celebrates the 25 years of progress made by countries on sustainable land management.
- The UN-designated day is all about a green planet, sustainable development, and health and welfare of people.
- Its purpose is to raise awareness of the presence of desertification and drought, highlighting methods of preventing desertification and recovering from drought.
Theme of 2021:
The theme for 2021 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is “Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land”.
- In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to market public awareness of the difficulty.
- The United Nations, NGOs and countries organize events to spread awareness about the cooperation required to combat desertification and drought.
- Restoring degraded land brings economic resilience, creates jobs, raises incomes and increases food security.
- It also helps biodiversity to recover.
- Besides, it locks away the atmospheric carbon warming the Earth, slowing climate change.
- A green planet can also lessen the impacts of climate change and underpin a green recovery from the pandemic.
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, SDG Goal 15: Life on Land states the resolve of the United Nations and the SDG signatory nations to halt and reverse land degradation.
India’s Efforts to Combat Desertification and Drought:
- India has set a target of restoring 2.6 crore hectares of degraded land by 2030.
- The South Asian giant also assists developing countries to develop land restoration strategies.
What is Desertification?
- Desertification is the degradation of land in various areas like arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid.
- It is caused primarily by human activities and then by climatic variations.
- However, desertification does not refer to an expansion of existing deserts.
- It is caused due to dryland ecosystems, deforestation, overgrazing, bad irrigation practices, etc. which affects the productivity of the land.