2021 Desertification and Drought Day: UN puts focus on recovery of degraded land
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed each year on June 17, as mandated by the United Nations, to combat the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas due to climate change and detrimental activities carried out by human beings which leave an adverse impact on the environment. While issues like global warming are being predominantly discussed around the world, it is also important to take note of the increasing degradation of the land cover due to deforestation and subsequent desertification.
2021 Desertification and Drought Day: Purpose
2021 Desertification and Drought Day is being observed on June 17 this year to focus on turning degraded land into healthy land. The United Nations, on its website marking the occasion, stated that restoring degraded land brings economic resilience, creates jobs, raises incomes, and increases food security. It also helps biodiversity to recover.
The aim is to prevent the elimination of sustainable living conditions on Earth for all animals, including human beings. Conditions like desertification and drought not only make human life on this planet difficult but also push the environment toward a situation from which it might be impossible to return.
What is desertification?
2021 World Desertification and Drought Day is also being observed to increase public awareness of the detrimental effects of desertification. According to the United Nations, desertification does not just mean an expansion of existing deserts. It also refers to the overall declining productivity of land due to overexploitation and inappropriate land use by human activity. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing, and bad irrigation practices can all lead to desertification and drought, the UN says.
2021 World Desertification and Drought Day: This year's theme
This year's theme for the United Nations' world day for fighting desertification and drought is "Restoration. Land. Recovery." Experts believe that we have to stop the process of desertification on an immediate basis, as well as maintain soil fertility and prevent soil from flowing into the water to stick to the current commitment by over 100 countries to restore almost 100 hectares of land over the next decade. The best way is to plant trees, which can eventually lead to land resettlement. At the same time, we have to change the sustainable and alternative methods of land use so that drought conditions are not triggered.