Actions around the world

This page presents the original submissions by outside authors and contributors on events and activities around the world that promote action against desertification, land degradation and mitigation of drought. Your contributions are welcome (see contribution guidelines on the right).

Information platform brings knowledge of fragile soils to Buenos Aires producers 

agricultural field

27 September 2019 – The Information System and Early Warning of Droughts of the Southwest of Buenos Aires (SIAT) is an initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to address the problem of fragile soils in the semi-arid regions of our country. The system issues alerts through easy-to-access reports and knowledge products on natural hazards that pose danger to the environment and people. The information comes from 12 meteorological stations in the Buenos Aires parties of Patagones, Puan and Villarino. The SIAT is a joint space with institutions that contribute to mitigating the impact of climate change in the southwest of Buenos Aires. It functions as a specialized technical body responsible for collecting, processing and analyzing relevant data to contribute to the decision-making of actors involved in the production systems of the region.

Mobilized by local women, a struggling village in Moldova reinvents itself


18 March 2019 – Assisted by the NGO BIOS, the villagers of Biesti organized an artisan fair to showcase their handicrafts, including straw weaving, traditional pastries, handmade carpets and embroidery. Encouraged by the success of the fair, the villagers established several small businesses, mostly led by women. Today they successfully produce goods for local and national markets, and the generated income helps develop community services such as improved roads, shops, new construction and cultural activities among them a village museum, a choir and a dance club. Once a dying village, Biesti nowadays gives its inhabitants a real alternative to leaving their birthplace for a chance of a better life. Read more...

Women's group mobilizes the community to restore traditional water sources

women in qanat

18 March 2019 – Qanats are underground tunnels traditionally built in the Middle East to lead water from inside a hill to villages below. During the past decade drought, climate change and top-down policies led to the demise of qanats in Takab region, Kerman province, Iran, threatening the livelihoods of local communities who depend on these traditional water resources. A women's community-based organization Gojino mobilized community members to restore abandoned qanats and established a community investment fund to maintain water sources and preserve tamarisk trees that protect qanats from sand storms. Read more...

In the south of Iran, indigenous women self-organize to improve community livelihoods

Burqa group

12 March 2019 – Drought and water scarcity are fundamental challenges for indigenous coastal communities of Qeshm island in the south of Iran. Local women and girls have established an organization called “Burqa” to improve livelihoods of community members. In addition to producing unique handicrafts, the group expanded its work to include community-based eco-tourism, aiming to promote the role of women in socio-economic and environmental activities on the island. The next goal of the group is to repair traditional water reservoirs to store water at the time of rainfall and support sustainable collective activities. Read more...

In the Balkans, women play an equal role in managing forest, water and land sustainably


11 March 2019 – Belkisa Merdan is one of two Board members of the association of private forest owners of Middle Bosnia Canton in a small rural pilot municipality of Busovača. The association works to preserve and sustainably use private forest ecosystem services, as well as develop measures to protect and rehabilitate forest ecosystems, including land. While forestry sector us traditionally male-oriented, the international program “Empowerment of communities through democratic natural resource management,” implemented by FEA,  is working to ensure the inclusion of women in the management, as well as in capacity-building. Belkisa Merdan believes that this approach can do a lot to improve the position of women and ensure their economic independence. FEA (Regional non-governmental network for forestry and environmental action) operates throughout the Balkan region and South-East Europe to support communities and the private sector in the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources, including forest, water and land. FEA strongly advocates for equal gender representation and empowerment of women in natural resources management. Read more...

Award for women's empowerment goes to Kusum Jain from Jaipur

Kusum Lata Jain

7 March 2019 – Kusum Lata Jain from Jaipur has been working for more than 30 years as project director for women's empowerment in rural areas of Rajasthan. As part of her services, she contacted a group of leprosy sufferers walking along the road, motivated them to give up begging, trained them in weaving and other skills, and provided them with shelter and medical treatment, thus rehabilitating over 500 lepers. She conducted awareness training of men and women in civic rights, women's rights, the environment and other issues. Kusum Jain helped villages solve their water problem by getting the old dried -up wells deepened and repaired. With help from colleagues, she planted tress species thus fighting desertification. The HIV/AIDS prevention program she designed for tribal communities involved in prostitution is being implemented in many villages in Rajasthan. 

In Burkina Faso, women form an enterprise group to grow their way out of poverty and protect environment

Awa Adouabou

6 March 2019 – Awa Adouabou is one of thousands of women TREE AID has supported to join a women’s enterprise group in the drylands of Africa. Awa has received the tools and training she needed to come together with other women in her community to earn an income, grow her way out of poverty and protect their fragile environment, all using the power of trees. In this short film, Awa tells how she went from struggling to feed her children and walking 10 km a day to find food to learning how to make shea butter from the nuts of shea trees. Awa also talks about how she and her community now protect trees and appreciate their importance.

In Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, local women restore forests, fight climate change and bring clean water to communities


5 March 2019 – Since 1993, Global Greengrants Fund has been one of the leading organizations to support grassroots-led efforts to protect the planet and the rights of people. Together with the diverse community of supporters, it has impacted the lives of millions of people. A targeted program on Women’s Environmental Action directs almost 70 per cent of the Fund's budget to women working on solutions to environmental challenges. Here you can find stories directly related to the UNCCD Gender Action Plan – stories of heroic women restoring forests and “kitchen gardens,” fighting climate change and using rainwater harvesting to bring clean water to their communities.  

In Argentina, the project on increasing climate resilience and improving SLM continues

Argentinian farmer
22 January 2019 – The project works with groups of producers to restore salinized and sodic soils by reducing the use of inputs and implementing  afforestation measures that use adapted species to minimize the wind impact and reduce evapotranspiration. The project also offers trainings on more efficient irrigation techniques needed for soil recovery. New water reservoirs have been installed on five farms where  improvements in irrigation systems have also been implemented and the salinized soils have been restored to productive state. Over the course of the project in Hilario Ascasubi and Juan A. Pradere in the southwest of the Province of Buenos Aires, the use of agrochemicals has been reduced from 300 to 190 liters per hectare. Plans are underway to promote beekeeping as a way to increase biodiversity.

Conservation education program in Azerbaijan demonstrates successful outcomes

student evaluation

26 October 2018 –  A written evaluation has confirmed the effectiveness of the conservation education programme on rare vegetation conservation in Gobustan National Park, demonstrating that the program participants have significantly increased their knowledge and skills on rare vegetation identification, and their attitudes have became significantly more pro-environmental. The programme, which targeted the students of the State National University, has been launched in 2016 by scientists from the Azerbaijan Institute of Botany and the National Academy of Sciences to develop the students' knowledge about the distribution of rare vegetation, build their skills on monitoring threats to rare vegetation, and educate them on environmental effects and responsible environmental behaviors. Read more...

Increasing climate resilience and improving sustainable land management in Argentina


15 August, 2018 – Argentina is a global leader in food production, yet 75 per cent of its territory is at risk of land degradation due to soil depletion and desertification. Farmers in dry and semi-arid areas affected by climatic variability represent 30 per cent of Argentina’s population and account for approximately 50 per cent of its agricultural and livestock production. To protect their livelihoods, farmers require knowledge and resources to understand and address climate risks. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina works to address these challenges with the help of US$ four million grant from the World Bank Adaptation Fund, by implementing a three-pronged approach that builds awareness among farmers and local institutions about climate risks, introduces resilient and sustainable agricultural practices, and strengthens the enabling environment for adapting to climate change

The project “Increasing Climate Resilience and Improving Sustainable Land Management in the Southwest of the Province of Buenos Aires" launched an early warning system for droughts and established twelve field sites that implement various sustainable land management Practices such as rangeland management, silvopastoral systems, access to water. The project also focuses on local government policies that promote rotary funds for soil coverage through pastures, forest wind barriers and land recovery, creating new green jobs as part of current social employment plans.

The indicators developed during the project have been reflected in Argentina's report submitted as part of the current the UNCCD reporting process. The outcomes of the project have been also showcased during the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Drought Conference in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Read more

Conservation Education Program evaluated in Azerbaijan

6 June 2018 – Students from the State National University will take a survey on their environmental knowledge, attitudes, skills and self-reported behaviors to evaluate the outcomes of a project that was launched in 2016 to increase capacity for biodiversity conservation in the Gobustan State National Park. The programme, developed by scientists from the Azerbaijan Institute of Botany and the National Academy of Sciences aims to develop the students' knowledge about the distribution of rare vegetation, skills on monitoring threats to rare vegetation, environmental effects and responsible environmental behaviors. Read more...

World Soil Day 2017

WSD Thailand

5.12.2017 – The World Soil Day ceremony took place at the Khao Cha-Ngum Royal Study Centre for Land Degradation Development under the theme “Caring for the Planet Starts from the Ground.” Read more...

20 000 people participated in greening the region of Belt and Road on Earth Day

Tree planting site at Jingshan, Hubei Province


22.04.2017 – In commemorating International Mother Earth Day, the China Elion Foundation together with China Internet Information Center, China’s Poverty Reduction Online, Elion Resources Group,  Aegon-Industrial Fund Management and Sand and Grass Industry Association of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region have jointly organized tree planting activities in 8 provinces in China, namely Hohhot, Alashan, Shanghaimiao and Chifeng in Inner Mongolia, Southern Xinjiang, Lhasa in Tibet Autonomous Region, Anshun in Guizhou, Zhangjiakou in Hebei, Wuwei in Gansu, Jingshan in Hubei, and Yanqing District of Beijing. Read more...

Azerbaijan presents long-term integrated research and educational program for biodiversity conservation

Gobustan training

16.11.2016 – Scientists from the Azerbaijan Institute of Botany and the National Academy of Sciences together with local experts in geographic information systems and remote sensing have undertaken a joint project in rare vegetation research. The project has been developed as a long-term integrated research and educational program to build local capacity for biodiversity conservation. Read more...

Large-scale long-term landscape restoration projects showcased


01.11.2016 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Commonland Foundation presented a video update on one of its partner projects that engages local farmers, land users and experts to transform highly degraded landscapes of the Western Australian Wheatbelt into productive farms and healthy eco-systems connected by biodiversity and cultural corridors.

Another project is underway in the South Africa’s Baviaanskloof Hartland, where decades of overgrazing and unsustainable land management have accelerated effects of droughts and floods, leading to the loss of carbon capture, biodiversity and soil fertility. A switch from traditional goat farming to sustainable agriculture combined with reforestation with native plants is implemented to restore the land’s potential.

Regenerative farming practices that include composting, erosion control and water harvesting are the founding principle of the demo farm that is being set up by Commonland in the Los Veléz-Altiplano area of Spain. The farm will support the capacity building in the region and demonstrate the potential of innovative agricultural alternatives in the semi-arid area of Europe that suffers most from large-scale land degradation. Find out more...

Save the Earth, Green Corps

Green Corps

27.09. 201606.10.2016 – New York, USA – “Save the Earth, Green Corps” cartoon exhibition took place at UN Headquarters in New York, showcasing artwork that addresses the threat of desertification and its effects on the environment.

Alongside paintings, caricatures and cartoons by such well-known artists as Marcin Bondarowicz of Poland and Lee Won-soo of Korea, the exhibition also presented heart-felt artwork by young students and informational videos on desertification and desert-restoration activities.

The Save the Earth Green Corps exhibition was organized by Future Forest Initiative, the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Korea Foundation. The Future Forest Initiative, founded by a UNCCD Dryland Ambassador Byong Hyon Kwon, brings together youth volunteers though its Green Corps program with the goal to plant one billion trees in China’s Kubuchu Desert and prove that degraded lands can be successfully reclaimed.

The Green Handkerchief campaign

Green Handkerchief

15.09. 2016 – Beijing, China – UNCCD Dryland Ambassador and TV personality Liu Fang Fei introduced the “Green Handkerchief Initiative” at the event organized by the China Green Foundation. The initiative promotes use of fabric handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues. Reducing the need for paper products means less demand for tree cutting – this prevents deforestation, protects wildlife habitats, reduces pollution and other negative effects of paper industry, the third-largest industrial emitter of greenhouse gasses. The campaign symbol, a green handkerchief which represents the idea of bringing more green into our world by combating desertification and land degradation, has been prominently featured in online campaigns and at live events.

SEKEM presents a series of articles on sustainable development to celebrate WDCD


17.06. 2016 – Cairo, Egypt – As part of the World Day to Combat Desertification, the 2015 Land for Life Award winner SEKEM published a series of articles covering the role of sustainable development approaches in combating desertification. The articles call attention to the pressing need for environmental education and research in the country where rapidly growing population makes the problem of land degradation and its effects on availability of natural resources particularly urgent.

The SEKEM initiative has received the Land for Life Award for its outstanding commitment to combating soil erosion and protecting soil fertility by advancing sustainable agriculture practices in Egypt.

Belarus has restored ten per cent of degraded peatlands

17.06.2016 – Minsk, Belarus – Approximately 10 percent of degraded peatlands have been restored in Belarus to date, reflecting the results of the country’s strategy to combat land degradation, as well as to advance conservation and the sustainable use of peatlands. A the press-conference in honor of the World Day to Combat Desertification, the Head of Biological and Landscape Diversity of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus Ms. Natalia Minchenko noted that the experience of Belarus with rewetting as a one of the elements of ecological rehabilitation of degraded peatlands is being picked up by other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Belarus has become one of the pilot countries to implement projects in land restoration in order to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030, reversing the processes of land degradation and raising soil fertility and productivity.

In Ghana, thousands celebrate WDCD by working to restore degraded land


17.06.2016 – Bongo District, Ghana – 20,000 people in the Upper East Region of Ghana celebrated the World Day to Combat Desertification by taking part in various activities to restore and rehabilitate 2,000 hectares of degraded land – building and reinforcement of structures, composting, tree planting and creation of protected areas. Under the theme “Inclusive Cooperation for Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality, ” the event organizers worked to promote public awareness of the issue that affects dryland regions of Northern, Upper East and Upper West Ghana in particular, calling attention to human activities that contribute to land degradation, such as unsustainable farming practices, bush burning, uncontrolled tree felling and clear-cutting, mining and overgrazing.

Desertification, Cities and Me

Cities and Me

16.06.2016 – Beijing, China – About 250 people have attended a special event organized by the World Future Council, SEE Foundation, State Forestry Administration and Beijing Forestry University to celebrate the World Day to Combat Desertification. The UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut addressed the audience, explaining how city residents are affected by desertification and what city dwellers can do to reduce the negative impacts of land degradation. “Restoring land enhances the capacity of cities to cope with urbanization, climate change, pollution and many other problems that are directly relevant to cities and their people,” Ms. Barbut emphasized. The dialog on the role of cities in the global fight against desertification and China’s part in these efforts continued during a panel discussion that included experts from academia, the private sector, government structures and UNCCD.

Sustainable development through cooperation and land restoration

16.06.2016 – Wallerfield, Trinidad and Tabago – As part of the country's activities to celebrate the World Day to Combat Desertification, the University of Trinidad and Tobago hosted a lecture on sustainable development, given by UNCCD Secretariat's Capacity-Building Officer Dr. Richard Byron-Cox. He also facilitated the following discussion for students from around the country on issues of land degradation, climate change and biodiversity protection

While primarily known for the rainforests, the landcover of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is about one-fourth desert and drylands. In the Caribbean, unsustainable land management practices are causing soil degradation and damage of natural habitats, contributing to the loss of biodiversity and reduction of natural buffers to droughts and floods. This year’s World Day to Combat Desertification, held under the slogan “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People,” advocated for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded lands as a means of achieving sustainable development goals.

Lanzhou Marathon celebrates WDCD

Lanzhou Marathon

11.06.2016 – Lanzhou, China – 40, 000 people participated in the Lanzhou International Marathon in the northwest dryland region of China to celebrate the World Day to Combat Desertification and promote its message “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.” Marathon was a part of series of events organized by China as the host of this year’s global WDCD observance. The celebrations also included public education events organized by the China Green Foundation to raise awareness on sustainable land management practices, land restoration and conservation. To commemorate WDCD, China has announced the “One Belt and One Road Joint Action to Combating Desertification” in cooperation with the neighboring countries connected by the historic Silk Road to promote Land Degradation Neutrality as a crucial element in achieving sustainable development goals.