What is desertification? 

#GS3 #Environment 

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. 

  • Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world’s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. 
  • Goal 15 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states our resolve to halt and reverse land degradation. 

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought  

  • The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels. 
  • This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 1995, after the day when United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was drafted. 

Theme of 2020  

  • This year’s observance is focused on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption. 
  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, under the slogan “Food. Feed. Fibre.” seeks to educate individuals on how to reduce their personal impact. 
  • Food, feed, and fibre is also contributing to climate change, with around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture, forestry and other land use. Clothing and footwear production causes 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure predicted to rise almost 50 per cent by 2030. 

About UNCCD  

  • Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. 
  • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found. 
  • It is the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21. 
  • In India, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal Ministry for this Convention. 
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