The World Day to Combat Desertification is observed worldwide on 17 June every year. The theme this year is ecosystem-based adaptation, with the slogan ‘Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It.’
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the recovery of degraded lands in order to avert the worst effects of climate change, produce sufficient food and ease competition over resources.
“Land degradation, caused or exacerbated by climate change, is not only a danger to livelihoods, but also a threat to peace and stability,” he said, adding that “with world population rising, it is urgent that we work to build the resilience of all productive land resources and the communities that depend on them, he said.”
The objectives of the 2014 World Day to Combat Desertification are to:
- Increase the attention given to land and soil within climate change adaptation
- Mobilize support for sustainable land management
- Call for the inclusion of land and soil and their significance in food security into national climate change adaptation policies.
The World Meteorological Organization works closely with the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, most specifically to help countries develop proactive integrated drought management policies.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said that climate-related extremes such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires revealed significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to climate variability and change.
“These impacts include alteration of ecosystems, disruption of food production and water supply, damage to infrastructure and settlements, morbidity and mortality, and consequences for human well-being,” he said in a video message.