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Gearing up for the World Day to Combat Desertifcation now 10 days away

07/06/2013 – Bonn. Starting with Burundi on Monday, countries will observe the World Day to Combat Desertification, which is held every year on 17 June. The focus this year is drought and water scarcity.

The global observance will take place in Ghent, Belgium, during the Conference on Desertification and Land Degradation on 17-18 June, and will be held as a joint observance with the 2010-2020 United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification. 

During their respective observances, Eritrea, Hungary, Portugal and Thailand are expected to designate Drylands Champions, a global initiative to recognize nationals that have achieved heroic efforts in sustainable land management. Observances are also planned in Namibia, South Africa and in Côte d’Ivoire, where the unveiling of the Miss Earth Côte d’Ivoire is expected to take place on Saturday, 8 June.

Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the UN body tasked with the leadership of both observances will deliver the keynote address titled, “Desertification: To care or not to Care?” at the Ghent Conference co-sponsored by UNESCO, UNCCD, and United Nations International Year of Water cooperation, among others.

The Conference, organized by the University of Ghent, the International Center for Etymology and Ghent BC, will showcase actions and projects undertaken since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also popularly known as the Earth Summit or Rio ’92 Conference.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to issue a message on 17 June, with several heads of UN entities, including UNCCD’s Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova also expected to issue statements in the lead up to the observances.

UNCCD Drylands Ambassadors including Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes and Chinese television celebrity Fangfei Liu are reaching out to the public through social media.

Information on the World Day to Combat Desertification is available at:

The following Additional resources will be available on the dates shown:
•    Message of Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO (10 June)
•    Message of Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary (13 June)
•    Op-ed by Luc Gnacadja for distribution at the national level (13 June)
•    Message of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (14-17 June or thereabout)
•    Electronic pocketbook on drought and water scarcity for general distribution (14 June)
•    Press release by the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification (14 June)
•    Winners of the 2013 Land for Life Award (17 June)
•    Announcement of Drylands Champions (various dates)
•    Press release by the UNCCD (17 June)
•    Speech of Luc Gnacadja (17 June)
•    Guest article by Luc Gnacadja for the next issue of Land Policy and Practice (17 June)

Resources for Social Media
•    Hashtag: #WDCD2013
•    Tweets
•    Twitter handles to follow: @unccd, @LucGnacadja, @leilavlopes, @JeffDSachs
•    Graphics for facebook and online publishing
•    WDCD logo
To submit information on your event contact:

For information on the Day, contact:

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