World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2023
Climate change and land mismanagement is having a devastating impact on dryland ecosystems. The UN is calling on governments, individuals and business to play their part in redressing the balance. On 17 June, people around the world will mark World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought to raise awareness of land degradation and what it means for people and planet.
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. This is mainly due to activities like unsustainable farming, overgrazing and the removal of trees. It has dire consequences for some of the world’s poorest people, as well as contributing to the large-scale loss of biodiversity. Changes in land use and global warming are only accentuating the problem. There is no time to waste in raising awareness and taking decisive action.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June to be World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought by its resolution A/RES/49/115 adopted in December 1994. The day provides an opportunity to remind everyone that Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) must remain a key priority.
The UN estimates that 50 million people may be displaced within the next 10 years as a result of desertification. At the same time, it is forecast that by 2050 droughts could affect more than three-quarters of the world’s population.
Women are disproportionately affected by land degradation. They have unequal and limited access to land and control over what happens to it. In response, this year the theme of the International Day Against Desertification, and Drought 2023 is “Her land. Her rights.” The UN is calling for greater equality in access to land and for women to be empowered to drive land restoration and drought resilience efforts. This will both secure greater equity of opportunity and help drive sustainable development.
We all have a role to play combating desertification and droughts.
Top tips for business include:
- Investing in projects and charities that promote women’s land rights and equip them to play a leading role in achieving Land Degradation Neutrality.
- Prioritise women and girls in your investments and facilitate access to finance and technology.
- Support tree planting projects around the world.
- Raise awareness about the consequences of desertification and droughts with your stakeholders.
- Have full visibility of your supply chain to ensure responsible resource management and that you are not contributing to land degradation.
- Draw up a robust carbon reduction plan or Net Zero strategy to reduce your environmental impact and support the fight against climate change.
- Develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy to support decarbonisation and commit to the triple bottom line of People Profit and Planet.
Did you know?
- Today, nearly half of the global agricultural workforce is female – yet less than one in five landholders worldwide are women.
- Women’s rights to inherit their husband’s property continue to be denied in over 100 countries under customary, religious, or traditional laws and practices.
- Globally, women already spend a collective 200 million hours every day collecting water. In some countries, a single trip to fetch water can take over an hour.
- According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), with concerted effort we can restore the productivity of over 2 billion hectares of degraded land and improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people.
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For more information on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought visit: www.un.org/en/observances/desertification-day