17 June 2020: The Desertification and Drought Day. This year’s theme is on link between consumption and land

The Desertification and Drought Day, is a United Nations observance day held on 17 June each year. The specific theme for this year’s event will focus on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation- i.e. humanity’s relentless production and consumption.

Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations. Indeed as populations become larger, wealthier and more urban, there is far greater demand for land to provide food, animal feed and fibre for clothing. Meanwhile, the health and productivity of existing arable land is declining, worsened by climate change.


Globally, around 33 percent of the world’s usable lands are degraded, and over 25 billion tons of topsoil are lost annually due to soil erosion and desertification.


To have enough productive land to meet the demands of ten billion people by 2050, lifestyles need to change. Desertification and Drought Day, running under the slogan “Food. Feed. Fibre.” seeks to educate individuals on how to reduce their personal impact.


This international day underlines the urgent need to prevent and halt land and soil degradation, and to restore degraded ecosystems, through the sustainable management of natural resources, which is key to achieve a land-degradation neutral and food secure world.


In order to celebrate this observance and create awareness of this day, the UNCCD has prepared several online activities.


For more information on the International Day, please visit the UN Desertification and Drought Day website