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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, observed on 17 June, 2018

Published on June 19, 2018
Before we know the much needed noble change that this day marks, we should understand what "desertification" & "drought" means.
  • Desertification: It 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.
  • Drought: A drought is a period of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or groundwater.

Causes of Desertification and Drought:

  • Poverty
  • Political instability
  • Deforestation
  • Overgrazing 
  • Bad Irrigation Practices 
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.

About WDCDD:

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had designated June 17 as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought in 1994.
  • It was observed for the first time in 1995.
  • The date marks adaptation of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) by UNGA in 1994.
  • The day is observed globally to promote public awareness on the issue, and implementation of UNCCD in those countries experiencing serious desertification or drought, particularly in Africa.
  • 2018's theme for WDCDD is: “Land has true value – invest in it.”

Role of the UNCCD:

  • It is committed to bottom-up approach, encouraging participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation. 
  • Its secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around technology and knowledge transfer for sustainable land management.
  • UNCCD collaborates closely with other two Rio Conventions, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and United UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as dynamics of land, climate and biodiversity are intimately connected to meet these complex challenges with integrated approach.
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