Desertification and Drought Day 2021: Goal, Theme and History


Every year on June 17, Desertification and Drought Day is observed to raise public awareness around international efforts to combat desertification.

As per the United Nations (UN), approximately three-quarters of the Earth’s ice-free land has been degraded by the human race to meet an ever-growing demand food, infrastructure, raw materials, etc. Slowing and avoiding the loss of healthy lands is the hour of the need for the long-term survival of the planet and people.

Over 100 countries have committed to the restoration of approximately 1 billion hectares of land over the next decade. India aims to restore 2.6 crore hectares of degraded land by 2030. “India is on track to achieve the target of land degradation neutrality set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.

Desertification and Drought Day 2021: Goal

• In 2021, the Desertification and Drought Day aims at bringing the focus to reversing degraded lands into healthy lands thus raising economic resilience, jobs, incomes, and food security, and progressing on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). This day puts emphasis on recovering biodiversity and slowing down the warming of the Earth.

• To celebrate Desertification and drought day 2021, the UN Conventions to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will collaborate with the Ministry of Environment (MINAE) of Costa Rica to encourage more efforts towards reversing desertification while recovering from COVID-19.

Desertification and Drought Day 2021: Theme

• The theme for Desertification and Drought Day 2021 is Restoration, Land, Recovery. We build back better with healthy land.

• Desertification refers to the degradation of land in dry sub-humid areas, arid, and semi-arid areas. Climate change and human activities such as over-exploitation of resources and land are the two primary causes of desertification.

• This year, the day calls attention to achieving land degradation neutrality through community involvement and problem-solving. The UNCCD asks everyone to treat land as a limited natural resource and insists on restoring degraded lands during the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Desertification and Drought Day: History

• The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 17 as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought through its resolution A/RES/49/115 which was adopted in December 1994.

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