The United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is annually observed on June 17 to highlight the urgent need to limit desertification and recover from drought.
Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts but to the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.
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.
Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and many more are at risk: many of them are the world‘s poorest, most marginalized and politically weak citizens.
Today’s observance should promote public awareness on the problem, which might be solved through strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.