The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed worldwide on 17 June every year (UN: A/RES/49/115).
Tackling hunger requires a multi-faceted approach – from economic development, nutritional intake to managing natural disasters. Still, a focus on land is critical. More than 99.7% of our food calories comes from the land. With the competition for productive land growing even as the global population rises, land for food production will get scarcer. We need to recover degraded land to remain food secure.
Hunger is most prevalent in the developing country dryland areas where water retention is poor, and the land is highly vulnerable to natural and human destructions. The vast majority of the dryland people survive on local foods.
Devastating consequences of drought, desertification and land degradation in Africa
Nowhere is this challenge more critical - and the need for action more pressing - than in the Horn of Africa. From Kenya to Ethiopia, Djibouti to Somalia, the devastating consequences of drought, desertification and land degradation are playing out before our eyes. The worst drought in 60 years has placed more than 13.3 million people -- predominately women and children -- in need of emergency assistance.
(the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development)
For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods—all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science—and act before it’s too late.
Land-related crises will mutate into new global crises
Land degradation is a global phenomenon, with 78 percent of the degrading land taking place in the non-drylands. Degrading the buffer zone of the drylands increases drylands’ vulnerability to degradation. The demand for productive land is high and competition over various land uses is intense. The recent food crises were not accidents and they are not over. But in an increasingly interdependent world, land-related crises will mutate into new global crises.
(the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification)