World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

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Related Hashtags#Drought, #NatureCampaign, #HerLand, #Awareness, #June
2024 Date17 June 2024
2025 Date17 June 2025

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is an important international observance that aims to raise public awareness about the urgent need to tackle desertification and land degradation. Desertification adversely affects the global ecosystem, food security, and ultimately, the sustenance of human life. This annual event highlights the importance of promoting sustainable land management practices, protecting affected ecosystems, and ensuring food and water security for communities around the world.

The United Nations General Assembly established this observance in 1995, following the 1994 adoption of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). India, being a signatory to the UNCCD and having faced severe consequences of desertification, bears a strong responsibility towards combating this issue. With almost 30% of the country's geographical area affected by land degradation and desertification, the impact on the Indian population's livelihood and food security is significant. Agriculture and related occupations form the backbone of the Indian economy, and desertification threatens the sustainability of these practices, leading to poverty and migration as primary consequences.

To mark the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, various public awareness programs, workshops, and tree plantation drives are organized across India. The events are aimed at promoting land and soil conservation measures, spreading awareness about the importance of afforestation, and encouraging sustainable land-use practices. The observance is held annually on the 17th of June, presenting an opportunity for the Indian population to join the international community in addressing the issue of desertification and land degradation.

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.
  • According to the India State of Forest Report 2019, around 96.4 million hectares (29.32% of the total geographic area) of India's land is affected by desertification and land degradation.
  • The Thar Desert in Rajasthan, extending across 200,000 square kilometers, is one of the primary regions affected by desertification in India. Parts of Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana also grapple with desertification and drought issues.

Top things to do in India 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 drought in India. Here are our top picks:
    1. Desertification in the Thar Desert - A short documentary that explores the rapid desertification of the Thar Desert, the impacts on local communities, and efforts to combat the issue.
    2. Surviving Drought in India - This Al Jazeera documentary delves into the struggles faced by farmers in the Marathwada region of India during the prolonged drought in 2016.
    3. Scarcity Wars: The War for Water in Indian Independence - This documentary by Navin Raheja explores the consequences of drought and water shortages in India and the political tensions that arise as a result. It provides in-depth coverage of the country's ongoing battle against desertification and the impact on national security.
  • Read a book to learn more about desertification in India. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Desertification in India: Assessment and Mapping by Amal Kar
    2. Climate Change, Drought, and Water Crisis in India by Jagdish Chandra Dagar, Archana Dagar, and Sushma Dagar
    3. Desertification Control and Rangeland Management in the Thar Desert of India by Anil Kumar Roy, Vijay P. Singh, and Subodh Kumar Singh

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