The Decay of the Land
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.
Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world‘s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares that “we are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. Specifically, Goal 15 states our resolve to halt and reverse land degradation.
2019 Theme “Let’s Grow the Future Together”
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Convention and the World Day to Combat Desertification in 2019 (#2019WDCD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) celebrates the 25 years of progress made by countries on sustainable land management. At the same time, the UNCCD looks at the broad picture of the next 25 years where we will achieve land degradation neutrality.
What do we envisage in a world where land degradation neutrality provides a solid basis for poverty reduction, food, water security as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation?
The anniversary campaign runs under the slogan "Let's grow the future together" supported by the global observance of WDCD and the 25th anniversary of the Convention on 17 June 2019 in Ankara, hosted by the government of Turkey.
Combating Desertification in Belarus
In Belarus United Nations Development Program, Global Environment Facility in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus implement "Conservation-oriented management of forests and wetlands to achieve multiple benefits" project.
The objective of the project is to introduce a conservation-centered and financially self-sufficient approach to management of forests and wetlands that harbor internationally important biodiversity and are important for climate and land integrity.
The project will introduce changes to management of forests and wetlands in and outside of key biodiversity areas with the objective of making it financially more sustainable and more efficient with respect to the conservation effect. The project is focused on: environmental legislation, sustainable management of forest and wetland ecosystems, conservation of globally threatened species.