World Day to Combat Desertification

Event date: 
2019-06-17 (All day)

  Objectives - aims   Objectives - aims        
Theme and messages
Effects of desertification, land degradation and drought
Key messages
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 2019 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.

The effects desertification, land degradation and drought


The Global Land Outlook indicates that approximately 170 countries are affected by desertification, land degradation and drought. The recurrent and growing threats of forest fires, heatwaves, mass migrations, flash floods, sea-level rise as well as food and water insecurity will become more evident. Given that, there is an urgent need to address these challenges through rehabilitation, conservation and restoration of degraded landscapes through sustainable land management (SLM) practices and approaches. Furthermore, 2030 is a significant milestone for achieving LDN as one of the Sustainable Development Goals.  It is also a stepping stone towards a true land-based sustainable future. i.e if we strive to achieve LDN by 2030, the would be more land available for sustainable development. What becomes more important, then, will be to generate and sustain vital and potential productive land.

Key messages


  • As the world has become more and more fragile against the effect of a changing climate, the Convention should be recognized as the leader on achieving LDN and leveraging LDN as a stepping stone towards true land-based sustainable development beyond 2030;
  • There is an urgent need to grow economies and secure enough food, clean water and energy by ensuring land users an enabling environment for SLM; and
  • SLM should be everyone’s business. Together, we can restore the productivity of over 2 billion hectares of degraded lands and improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people around the world.   

Related links


» Celebrate #2019WDCD -

» The Decay of the Land -

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