Sustainability Blog

Discover Droughtland!

By Apurva Gosalia - Jun 17, 2022

An area half the size of the European Union is degraded every year. That’s more than 2 million square kilometers, mostly in Africa and Asia, where plant and animal life become untenable. To raise awareness and highlight preventing desertification and drought recovery, today is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (DDD).

Land degradation neutrality – is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.  

The UN General Assembly proclaimed DDD in a resolution in 1995, the day after it drafted the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. It falls yearly on June 17.

Droughts are among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries, but increasingly so in developed nations too. In fact, forecasts estimate that by 2050 droughts may affect more than 75% of the world’s population. 

The number and duration of droughts has increased by almost 30% since 2000, compared with the two previous decades. UNICEF estimates that a growing number of people will be living in areas with extreme water shortages. This includes one in four children by 2040. 

No country is immune to drought, according to the UN. We have rendered nearly 25% of the land globally no longer productive. We have also transformed 75% from its natural state, mostly for agriculture. This transformation is happening faster rate than at any other time in human history, and has accelerated over the last 50 years.

The matter requires even more attention these days. When the land degrades and stops being productive, natural spaces deteriorate and transform. Thus, greenhouse gas emissions increase and biodiversity decreases. It also means there are fewer wild spaces to buffer zoonoses, such as COVID-19, and protect the population from extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and sand and dust storms.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states, “we are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. Specifically, SDG 15: Life on Land states the UN and the SDG signatory nations’ resolve to halt and reverse degradation.

Each year’s global celebration of DDD has a unique, novel emphasis that had not been developed previously. This year, the theme is “Rising up from drought together”. It emphasises the need of an early action to avoid disastrous consequences for humanity and the planetary ecosystems.

Spain is the host country for this year’s DDD activities and will focus on drought resilience and proactive actions to take so no land becomes like “Droughtland.”


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