World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

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2024 DateJune 17, 2024
2025 DateJune 17, 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 a day to raise awareness about the global challenges of desertification, land degradation, and drought. Through a variety of events and activities, the observance aims to focus public attention on land and soil conservation, while also promoting sustainable land management practices. It highlights the importance of these issues and their effect on agricultural productivity, local and regional sustainability, and human livelihoods worldwide.

Since 1995, the United Nations has observed the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought yearly following the adoption of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1994 as a direct response to the severe droughts and resulting famine that affected Africa in the early 1970s and 1980s. Despite Canada's geographical distance from the countries most affected by desertification, it is crucial that Canadians participate in this observance as climate change, land mismanagement, and unsustainable resource exploitation continue to impact our environment, economy, and global food security.

In Canada, the observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is marked through educational campaigns, workshops, and seminars promoting sustainable land management practices, conservation programs, and the sharing of success stories. Canadians are encouraged to participate in fostering greater public awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding desertification and drought. These efforts contribute not only to the mitigation of climate change and its effects on food security worldwide but also to the ultimate goal of building a healthier, more resilient, and sustainable world for future generations. 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.
  • One of the most well-known examples of desertification in Canada is the Palliser Triangle, a semi-arid region located in the western part of the Canadian Prairies. This area stretches from southwestern Saskatchewan to southeastern Alberta and is prone to drought and soil degradation.
  • Agriculture is a significant factor in potential desertification in Canada. Overgrazing, monoculture, and deforestation can lead to soil erosion and loss of plant cover, ultimately resulting in the degradation of arable land.

Top things to do in Canada 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 Canada. Here are our recommendations:
    1. Drought on the Prairies (2018) - This documentary examines the ongoing drought in the Canadian prairie region, exploring the impact on agriculture, water supply, and ecosystems.
    2. Water Scarcity and Climate Change in Canada (2016) - This documentary looks at the effects of climate change on water availability in Canada, with a particular focus on drought and desertification.
    3. Weather Gone Wild (2014) - A CBC documentary that takes a look at extreme weather events across Canada, including droughts and their consequences on agriculture and water supplies.
  • Read a book to learn more about drought in Canada. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Comparative Assessment of Climate Change and Drought: A Canadian Prairie Case Study by David A. Sauchyn, Jinny J. C. Tran, and Vibha Tyagi
    2. Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Strategies to Reduce Desertification and Drought in Canada by Victoria Fraser
    3. Drought on the Canadian Prairies: A review of the twentieth-century Drought years in Canada, 1900-2000 by Shannon Bartling, Elzarie Van Aswegen, and Josef Pieterse

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