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South Africa celebrates Desertification and Drought Day 2024

17 June 2024


The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment calls on all South Africans to join the international community in celebrating Desertification and Drought Day (DDD) 2024. This year's theme: "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future" highlights the importance of land stewardship through three focus areas, land restoration, desertification and drought resilience.

The goal is to stop land degradation, rehabilitate and restore land to a fertile status as well as promoting sustainable land management practices by encouraging the public and decision makers to act towards protecting the environment.

Land is a vital natural asset for provides economic resources through agriculture, forestry and even mining producing food and other ecosystem goods and services. It also provides for ecosystem services such as water filtration, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Degradation caused by drought and unsustainable land use such as inappropriate agriculture, deforestation or even improper infrastructure development threatens those benefits and livelihoods which depend on the land.

The way we currently manage the land is threatening its health and the productivity. Growing populations, coupled with unsustainable production and consumption patterns, fuel demand for natural resources, put excessive pressure on land to the point of degradation. The condition of our land affects everyone, so caring for it is a shared responsibility. Hence, it is important for all stakeholders in South Africa to support of initiatives and interventions that protect and restore land health and its productivity.

"The health and wellbeing of our communities, and especially in rural areas, are intricately linked to the health and productivity of the land. Land and soil are essential for food, renewable energy, and water security, which are crucial for people's survival. Therefore, land degradation threatens their way of life," said the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

"This can be done through conservation, smart agriculture and adaptation to changing climate, especially in the dry fragile parts of our areas where food and water shortages are becoming more severe," added Minister Creecy.

South Africans are urged to change their land use practices while striving to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN). There is an urgent need to work towards the achievement of LDN, which requires a paradigm shift in land stewardship: from "degrade-abandon-migrate" to "protect-sustain-restore". This means cooperation among various sectors that embrace complementary management options to avoid future land degradation whilst rehabilitating degraded lands that provide vital benefits to people.

By maintaining and restoring healthy land, we can ensure these benefits continue to support human societies and natural ecosystems.

Let's work together to look after our land to sustain our lives and our future.

For media queries, contact:

Peter Mbelengwa
Mobile: 082 611 8197


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