Since 1994, June 17th has been the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to draw public attention to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and it has been celebrated ever since.
Desertification is an increasing ecological problem. It occurs when previously fertile land becomes desert through deforestation, drought or improper agriculture. The Convention specifically covers the areas of the planet which are the most at risk of desertification. These areas are often home to some of the most vulnerable people and eco-systems. Each June 17th, the World Day to Combat Desertification is promoted worldwide to raise public awareness of, and support for, international efforts in combating desertification and the effects of drought.
The 196 parties to the convention try to improve living conditions for people in these areas by restoring and maintaining the soil fertility and by mitigating the effects of drought. The parties encourage participation by local people on schemes to fight desertification and land degradation such as tree planting. They firmly believe that land degradation neutrality is possible though strong community involvement and cooperation at all levels.
The UNCCD Secretariat, the country parties to the convention and its stakeholders try to educate the public about effective methods to work the land without causing degradation. The invested organisations celebrate the day by organising outreach programmes and by holding awareness raising events.