World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Event date: 
2020-06-16 23:15 to 2020-06-17 22:30

  Objectives - aims   Objectives - aims      


Theme and messages
Effects of climate change
Related links/sources




The General Assembly of the United Nations, at its 92nd Plenary meeting in 1994, adopted a resolution (A/RES/49/115) which proclaimed 17 June as the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD). The resolution further invites all States to devote the WDCD, to promote public awareness on Desertification, Land Degradation and effect of Drought (DLDD) related issues in those Countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

As a party to the United Nations to Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), South Africa through the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as the focal point of the UNCCD has coordinated the celebration of the WDCD annually since ratifying the Convention. The Day has been observed to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat DLDD. WDCD is observed as a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification and land degradation can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and this day can also be used as a tool to strengthen community participation and co-operation at all levels.


The 2020 theme


This year's World Day to Combat Desertification theme is “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, 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.

Desertification and Drought Day, a United Nations observance day held on 17 June each year, will in 2020 focus on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption.


The effects of climate change


As populations become larger, wealthier and more urban, there is far greater demand for land to provide food, animal feed and fibre for clothing. Meanwhile, the health and productivity of existing arable land is declining, worsened by climate change.

To have enough productive land to meet the demands of ten billion people by 2050, lifestyles need to change. Desertification and Drought Day, running under the slogan “Food. Feed. Fibre.” seeks to educate individuals on how to reduce their personal impact.

Food, feed and fibre must also compete with expanding cities and the fuel industry. The end result is that land is being converted and degraded at unstainable rates, damaging production, ecosystems and biodiversity.


Related links


» Celebrate #2019WDCD -

» The Decay of the Land -




The Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Ms Makhotso Sotyu has urged South Africans to protect their land from over-use so that it can continue to provide us with food, water and energy to support our wellbeing.

The Deputy Minister’s call comes as South Africa joins the global community in marking the annual Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June 2020. The Day is marked under the theme: Food. Feed. Fibre, highlighting the links between consumption and land.  Key to the leading drivers of desertification and land degradation are unsustainable production and consumption patterns. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the feed for animals come from the land. The marking of the 2020 Desertification and Drought day is therefore another call for more efficient and sustainable practices....


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