World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020: All about Desertification and Drought Importance, World Day to Combat Drought Observance.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on 17th June every year since 1995. Desertification and Drought article has a detailed essay about World Day to Combat Drought. Read on to know the importance and observance of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought day.

Sheena | Updated Jun 16, 2020 04:51 AM

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020: All about Desertification and Drought Importance, World Day to Combat Drought Observance.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought has been observed since 1995 to raise worldwide awareness about international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought. As of June 2019, one-third of the planet's land surface was under the threat of desertification, impacting over 250 million people. Every year, on 17th June, The day offers a chance to recognize that land degradation neutrality is doable through problem-solving, strong community involvement, and cooperation.

What is the History of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Day?

In 1994, the General Assembly established the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). UNGA passed the resolution A/RES/49/115 and declared 17th June as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, in December 1994. The assembly realized that desertification and drought were among the global problems faced in all regions of the world. The meeting also acknowledged that joint action by the international community was essential to fight desertification and drought, especially in Africa.

States were invited to devote World Day for promoting awareness of the need for worldwide cooperation to fight desertification and the effects of drought. And also, to discuss matters on the implementation of the convention to combat desertification. Since then, country parties, non-governmental organizations, and other interested stakeholders of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) celebrate this day with outreach activities globally on 17th June every year.

What is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020 Theme? 

2020's observance is focused on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption.

As populations become more massive, wealthier, and more urban, there is a far higher demand for land to provide food, animal feed, and fiber for clothing. Meanwhile, the health and productivity of the existing arable land are declining and worsened by climate change.

Lifestyles need to change to have enough productive land to meet the demands of ten billion people by 2050. World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, with the slogan “Food. Feed. Fibre.” aims to educate individuals on how to reduce their impact.

Food, feed, and fiber must also compete with expanding cities and the fuel industry. The result is that land is being converted and degraded at unsustainable rates, damaging production, ecosystems, and biodiversity.

Food, feed, and fiber contribute to climate change, with around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture, forestry, and other land use. Clothing and footwear production causes 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and a figure predicted to rise by almost 50 percent by 2030.

Desertification and Drought in India

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed annually on 17th June each year. 21 drought-prone districts, of the 78 in the country that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) identified, have more than 50% of their areas under desertification. More than 80% of the country's degraded land is situated in just nine states: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Telangana.

India was the signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Paris on 17th June 1994. According to the report, while the country had committed to achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030, it witnessed a rise of 1.87 million hectares undergoing the process of desertification between 2003-05 and 2011-13.

According to the report:

  • The highest increase in land degradation is observed in Lunglei district of Mizoram (5.81 percent increase from 2003-05 to 2011-13). 

  • Other regions with more than two percent increase in land degradation are Aizawl (Mizoram), Kathua (Jammu Kashmir), South Tripura (Tripura), Bhiwani (Haryana), Hailakandi (Assam), Kokrajhar (Assam), and Tirap (Arunachal Pradesh).

  • Top three districts with the highest area under desertification of land degradation are Jaisalmer, Rajasthan (92.96 percent during 2011-13 and 98.13 percent during 2003-05), Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh (80.54 percent during 2011-13 and 80.57 percent during 2003-05) and Kargil, Jammu & Kashmir (78.23 percent during 2011-13 and 78.22 percent during 2003-05).

  • Districts with more than 50 percent area under desertification are Shyok sub-basin (Jammu and Kashmir), Giridih (Jharkhand), Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh), Bokaro (Jharkhand), Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh), Dhule (Maharashtra), Kohima (Nagaland), Bargarh (Odisha), Purulia (West Bengal), Ahmadnagar (Maharashtra), Koraput (Odisha), West Khasi Hills (Meghalaya), Kendujhar (Odisha), Aizawl (Mizoram), Panch Mahals (Gujarat), Surendranagar (Gujarat), Theni (Tamil Nadu) and North Goa (Goa).

Main reasons that cause desertification in India are:

  • Water erosion (10.98%)

  • Wind erosion (5.55%)

  • Human-made/settlements (0.69%)

  • Vegetation degradation (8.91%)

  • Salinity (1.12%)

  • Others (2.07%)

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Amid COVID-19

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought should be considered even more, especially during the COVID-19 situation. Actions based on the bright intellect of rights, rewards, and land management responsibilities can help address the COVID-19 fallout by undertaking one of the major environmental drivers of rising infectious disease outbreaks. At the same time, strengthening our food and water systems' resilience can help reduce the effects of the pandemic on global poverty and food insecurity. Today, the motto “healthy land = healthy people” promoted by the Convention to Combat Desertification, is more real than ever.

How is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020 Celebrated?

The UNCCD has prepared several activities to celebrate this observance and create awareness of this day: an online event, a Youtube short film series related to the theme and the Contest Become #UNCCDLandHeroes, where young candidates propose a specific solution to limit the footprint that our production and consumption of food, feed, and fiber left on the land. The winners of the contest will be announced on 17th June 2020.

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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020 - FAQs

1. When was the first World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought observed?

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought has been observed since 1995. In 1994, the General Assembly established the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).