« back UNCCD Desertification and Drought Day 2021 & UNDRR Global Assessment Report 21

Desertification and Drought Day – known as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought before 2020 – is observed on 17 June every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that reversing land degradation is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.

With its slogan “Restoration. Land. Recovery.”, this year Desertification and Drought Day focuses on turning degraded land into healthy land. Nearly three quarters of the Earth’s ice-free land has been altered by humans to meet an ever-growing demand for food, raw materials, highways and homes. It underlines that investing in healthy land is a smart economic decision – both, in terms of rebuilding livelihoods and insulating economies against future crises caused by climate change and nature loss. Avoiding, slowing and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems now is both urgent and important for guaranteeing the long-term survival of people and the planet.

In conjunction with this day, there will be an official launch of GAR21 Special Report on Drought by UN Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). The Report is the most comprehensive assessment on the subject yet and explores the systemic nature of drought and its impacts on achievement of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals and human and ecosystems health and well-being.

  • Some useful stories and important facts:

  • - Benefits of land restoration
    - Land recovery practices: Butterflyway, Forest Restoration, Zero-budget natural farming, Traditional agriculture and Climate-resilient pasturalists

    Water security: By 2025, two thirds of the global population could experience water scarcity. Already today, one third of humanity cannot access safe water. To support water security, we must restore land and reverse desertification.
    Food Security: Globally, one in nine people suffer from hunger, and climate change will increase this number. Smallholder farmers, forest dwellers, herders and fishers are highly vulnerable to climate change. Land restoration is a solution to food insecurity.
Biodiversity: Humans have already transformed almost three-quarters of Earth’s land from its natural state. We are in the midst of a ‘sixth great extinction’. Land restoration can reverse biodiversity loss and species extinction, and form a buffer against future crises.
Land and Green Jobs: On average, every dollar invested in the restoration of degraded land returns five dollars. Including both market and non-market values, the benefits of restoration can be ten times higher than costs.


    Climate Action: By 2030, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded land could remove up to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from our atmosphere – almost half of global emissions in 2019 – and return nine trillion USD in value from ecosystems.
    Disaster Risk Reduction: Extreme weather events have almost doubled over the last 20 years compared with the previous 20 years. Land recovery can restore nature’s defences, reducing the impacts of drought, floods and storms.