World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

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2024 Date17 June 2024
2025 Date17 June 2025

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought in
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The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is an annual event aimed at raising awareness about the devastating effects of these issues on global ecosystems, food production, and economies. One of the key aspects of this observance is to educate communities and governments on the importance of sustainable land management practices, inevitably leading to a healthier environment, more resilient economies and enhanced quality of life.

The origins of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought date back to 1994, following the United Nations General Assembly's adoption of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Australia's arid climate and variable rainfall patterns make it crucial for the nation to engage in the discussion and act upon the threats posed by desertification and drought. As a country whose population and industries are heavily reliant on agriculture and natural resources, Australia has much at stake, making its citizens and leaders potential contributors to finding global solutions to these environmental challenges.

Throughout Australia, communities, organisations, and governments come together on this day, engaging with each other through various events and activities. These include informational presentations that highlight best practices in sustainable land management, removal of invasive species, and planting native vegetation to bolster natural habitats. Australians are urged to learn and become involved in the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, as a collective effort is necessary to better manage the land and resources, ultimately securing a prosperous future for generations to come. The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on June 17th every year.

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Facts about World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

  • It is estimated that land degradation and desertification contribute to about 10-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It is estimated that the global annual cost of land degradation due to desertification is around $42 billion, including the loss of agricultural productivity and ecosystem services.
  • Approximately 3.2 billion people, or about 40% of the global population, are affected by land degradation and desertification.
  • Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, making it particularly vulnerable to desertification and drought. The country has a highly variable climate, with most of its landmass classified as arid or semi-arid.
  • One of the most well-known episodes of severe drought in Australia was the "Millennium Drought" that occurred between 1997 and 2009. The prolonged drought led to widespread soil degradation and had a significant impact on agriculture, rural communities, and water resources across much of eastern Australia.

Top things to do in Australia for this observance

  • Learn about the UN's great green wall initiative. Once finished, it will become the largest living structure on the planet.
  • Watch several short films on desertification and drought.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about desertification in Australia. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Living with Drought: Australian Farmers' Stories (2020) - This documentary focuses on the experiences of Australian farmers during the prolonged drought period, showcasing their resilience and adaptability in the face of extreme weather conditions.
    2. The Battle to Beat Australia's Drought (2018) - Produced by 60 Minutes Australia, this documentary highlights the struggles faced by rural communities in Australia during one of the worst droughts in the country's history.
    3. Life on the Edge: Managing Drought in Australia's Outback (2017) - This documentary highlights the experiences of those living in Australia's Outback during times of drought, along with the innovative techniques being employed to manage scarce water resources and preserve the unique ecosystems in this harsh environment.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about desertification in Australia. Here are our recommendations:
    1. Desertification in Australia: An Eye to Grass Roots and Horizons by Rangeland Ecology & Management
    2. The Australian Drought: Impacts, Policy and Adaptation by Kerry Bridle, Amandine Denis-Ryan, and Margaret Somerville
    3. Climate, Fire and Drought in Australia: Learning from the Black Saturday Fires by Kevin Tolhurst and Owen Price

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