In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought". Ever since, country Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), non-governmental organizations and other interested stakeholders celebrate this particular day with a series of outreach activities, worldwide.
This year on World Day to Combat Desertification, the international community marks the 11th anniversary of the UNCCD, which plays a key role in the world’s efforts to eradicate poverty, achieve sustainable development and reach the Millennium Development Goals.
The Convention is the only internationally recognized, legally binding instrument that addresses the problem of land degradation in dryland. It enjoys a truly universal membership of 191 Parties.
This year’s celebration will constitute a special occasion for awareness raising on the issue of desertification as the international community prepares for the forthcoming celebration of the "International Year of Deserts and Desertification" in 2006.
17 June constitutes a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.
The proposed theme on this year’s celebration of 17 of June is "Women and Desertification", as a way to recognize and support the unique role played by women in regions affected by desertification and drought, particularly in rural areas of developing countries.
Country Parties and civil society organizations are invited to organize events to celebrate the World Day to Combat Desertification as an additional opportunity to increase awareness raising and participation in the process.