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

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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a global observance aimed at raising awareness about the importance of sustainable land management and the effects of desertification and drought on the environment and human livelihoods. As a critical ecological issue, it emphasizes the need to take measures to prevent and mitigate the impacts of these unfortunate occurrences. This observance highlights the urgency for collective efforts to tackle the challenges faced by communities affected by desertification and drought, particularly ensuring reliable access to water and sustainable land management.

Established in 1994 by the United Nations General Assembly, the observance is a response to a growing global concern over the alarming rate of desertification and its consequences on socio-economic conditions, food security, and ecological balance. Supporting international efforts to spread awareness and effective methods for combating drought is vital for both the global community and UK citizens to collaborate in preserving the health of the environment and ensuring a sustainable future for all.

In the United Kingdom, World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed through various educational programs, awareness campaigns, and participation in global initiatives. Institutions, non-government organizations, and local communities come together to advocate for action against land degradation and highlight the importance of conserving soil and water resources. The observance takes place on the 17th of June each year, serving as a reminder for the UK to contribute to worldwide efforts towards a more sustainable and resilient world.

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 a study by Cranfield University, it is predicted that around 2.2 million hectares of UK land could erode by 2050 due to soil degradation caused by agricultural practices, urbanization, or climate change.
  • The UK has seen an increased frequency of droughts in recent years due to climate change. One of the most severe droughts occurred in 1976, causing water rationing, crop failure, and significant impacts on wildlife.

Top things to do in the UK 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 about climate change and drought in the United Kingdom. Here are our top picks:
    1. After the Flood: UK Drought 2012 (2012) - This documentary looks at the impacts of the intense drought the UK experienced in 2012, and how it affected the country's water resources and ecology.
    2. The Mini Ice Age Meets Climate Change (2013) - This documentary explores the effects of climate change on the UK, focusing on the extreme weather events it causes, including droughts and flooding.
    3. Meet the Climate Sceptics (2011) - This documentary explores the views of climate change skeptics, including those who argue that concerns about desertification and drought in the UK are overblown.
  • Read a book to learn more about desertification in the United Kingdom. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Drought and Water Crises: Integrating Science, Management, and Policy by Donald A. Wilhite and Roger S. Pulwarty
    2. Climate Change and British Wildlife by Trevor Beebee
    3. Turning the Tide on the Loss of the UK's Biodiversity by UK Government's Foresight Land Use Futures Project

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