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One third of countries report on World Day to Combat Desertification

Report on the Observance of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification
The World Day to Combat Desertification was held on Monday, 17 June 2013, with 31 events reported so far and media reports of the day covered by 62 parties (31.8%).  This brief overview highlights the scope of the activities and coverage of the Day by mainstream, alternative and social media. The information was mainly gathered through submissions by NFPs and RCFs and web searches and tools. The report of activities undertaken by various countries is posted on the UNCCD website: Annex 1 reports on the social media activities and Annex 2 provides links to the over 450 reports published.
The WDCD was first announced to the NFPs in February 2013 and a side-event organized by ARCE during CRIC 11 to highlight the various activities. The materials for the event were also prepared in advance of CRIC11 and made available for distribution. Materials were also shipped to the regional offices and, exceptionally, to a small number of countries that sent information in good time about their planned activities. RCFs assisted ARCE in gathering information about planned activities before and after the events. ARCE issued a final solicitation for information two weeks ahead of the event and immediately following the event.
For the second time, the announcement of the Land for Life Award was made during the WDCD global observance event and for the first time, Drylands Champions were announced in five countries – Eritrea, Hungary, Kenya, Portugal and Thailand.
Outcomes and Lessons Learned
The report below is partial because only a limited number of countries submitted information, but it provides a feel for the spread of activities.
•    Reports of 31 events have been received to-date: Africa (11), Asia (11), LAC (2), and Europe (7):  Annex IV (2) and Annex V (3) and Developed countries (2).
•    The countries with drylands champions had substantive observance events and their activities were picked up by the media.
Contribution of Land for Life Award and the Drylands Champions
•    The L4LA was partly designed to raise the visibility of the WDCD, and is fulfilling that objective. Several of the articles focused on the WDCD, and mentioned L4L as a sub-item.
•    The reports of the winners were not as extensive as they were last year, when the announcement was made at the Rio Conference by Miss Universe 2011
•    The announcement of the semi-finalists of the Land for Life Award did not generate as much publicity, in spite of the targeted approach used. However, the press release helped pique interest before the announcement of the winners.
•    There was more coverage of the winners in their countries of origin, especially in Mexico and India; not as much in Australia. The UNCCD media network and partners and UNDDD IATF were particularly instrumental in increasing reach.
•    Best results were observed where the country of origin of the Land for Life winner overlapped with the existence of a journalist in the UNCCD network  (e.g. India). This underscores the importance of building a network of journalists in every country, and providing relevant training.
•    Inclusion of quotes and photos via “notes to editors” helped pick-up
•    Three of the countries where Drylands Champions were announced undertook elaborate activities and got media coverage from the national networks.
A detailed report of the articles in each region and by the international organizations as well as the blogs and announcements of the events is provided in Annex 2 below.
In total, at least 70 announcements were made in advance of the event and 380 media stories were published, including 38 by international organizations and 9 blogs. The event was covered by 62 Parties (Africa-9, Asia-11, LAC-13, Northern Mediterranean -8, Developed countries -9, Central and Eastern Europe-11 and the EU -1).
The focus was announcing the Day’s events taking place in the country. Other journalists focused on the messages of the Executive Secretary and Secretary Ban. In developed countries, publicity initiatives or events were reported in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. However, the observance was covered by the media for 9 Parties, mostly picking up the AFP report of the pronouncement by the President of Chile that 2/3 of his country is undergoing desertification.
Social media was predominantly for public outreach using various platforms: twitter  and weibo (chinese), facebook, pininterest, tumblr and storify. New tracking tools like bitly were introduced to measure the reach. UNCCD Drylands Ambassadors and the UNDDD IATF members played active outreach roles. Among the resources that were made available are: custom shareable graphic, draft tweets, the Hashtag #wdcd2013, and electronic pocket book and a custom short link.  Detailed information on each of the above and the outcomes are provided in Annex 1 below.  The blogs published by independent entities – individuals and organizations – are provided at the end of Annex 2.

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