United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Spain to host Desertification and Drought Day 2022

News - 21.4.2022

On 17 June, Spain will host Desertification and Drought Day 2022. This has been announced by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The global celebration of the event, which will take place in Madrid, will focus on the urgent need to adopt policies and measures at local, regional and global levels to avoid the worst effects of desertification. This year's theme is Overcoming Droughts Together.

In this regard, the Vice-President of the Government of Spain and the Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, thanked Spain for having been chosen to host this year's Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. "It is an honour to host an event that brings to the forefront the threat posed by droughts to millions of people and ecosystems around the world. Only by working together can we overcome its devastating impacts. We must start preparing today to protect ourselves from tomorrow's droughts," she stressed.

Similarly, UNCCD executive secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said that while droughts are part of natural systems, "the phenomena we are currently experiencing are much worse, largely due to human activity. Recent droughts point to an uncertain future for the planet. Food and water shortages, as well as drought-induced forest fires, have intensified in recent years".

Between 1900 and 2019, droughts affected 2.7 billion people worldwide and caused 11.7 million deaths. According to current projections, droughts could affect more than three quarters of the world's population by 2050.

Therefore, among the main priorities of the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP15), which will take place from 9 to 20 May 2022 in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), will be the discussion on the adoption of global drought adaptation and resilience-building measures.

Combating desertification effectively

The annual observance of the Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1997, aims to raise public awareness of the problem. It also seeks to demonstrate that it is possible to effectively combat desertification and drought, that solutions exist and that the basic tools to achieve this lie in strengthening community participation and cooperation at all levels. Last, it seeks to strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

According to the latest scientific forecasts, droughts will become more frequent and severe in the future. Evidence of its growing impact has led governments to focus on adopting stronger international measures and commitments consistent with this scenario. Since 2017, the UNCCD and its partners have supported some 70 drought-vulnerable countries in developing national action plans to reduce drought-related disasters.

Non official translation