2021 Desertification and Drought Day


DDDay flyer

09:00 14:30
  • Musical performances by Malpais and Over the Border
  • Video greetings from high-level officials and celebrities
  • Dialogue with World Wildlife Fund on green economic recovery and its impact on ecosystems and the global food system
  • 2021 Land for Life Award ceremony
  • Panel: Women and Land-based Economic Recovery
  • Stories of restoration, land and recovery from India, Canada, Indonesia, Kenya and Costa Rica
  • Music workshop by Land Ambassadors with hip-hop artist Konshens and Land Heroes
  • Children's programme #Kids4Land
  • Film screening: It's All About Land and Kiss The Ground

Watch the programme:

  • UNDRR and UNCCD launch of GAR Special Report on Drought 2021
  • High-level event hosted by the President of Costa Rica (watch video)
  • Talk show co-produced with the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica (watch video)




The 2021 Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June will focus on turning degraded land into healthy land. Restoring degraded land brings economic resilience, creates jobs, raises incomes and increases food security. It helps biodiversity to recover. It locks away the atmospheric carbon warming the Earth, slowing climate change. It can also lessen the impacts of climate change and underpin a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will work with the Ministry of Environment (MINAE) of Costa Rica, the host of the global observance, to encourage households, communities, private sector and countries to have a better relationship with nature as we recover from COVID-19.

read more

Nearly three quarters of the Earth’s ice-free land has been altered by humans to meet an ever-growing demand for food, raw materials, highways and homes. Fixing damaged ecosystems mitigates against climate change and bolsters nature’s defences against disasters and extreme weather events such as wildfires, droughts, floods, and sand and dust storms. Restoring natural landscapes reduces close contact between wildlife and human settlements, creating a natural buffer against zoonotic diseases.

Avoiding, slowing and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems now is both urgent and important for a swift recovery from the pandemic and for guaranteeing the long-term survival of people and the planet.

Land restoration can contribute greatly to post-COVID19 economic recovery. Investing in land restoration creates jobs and generates economic benefits, and could provide livelihoods at a time when hundreds of millions of jobs are being lost.

— Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary

“Smart land-based restoration initiatives would be particularly helpful for women and youth, who are often the last to receive help in times of crises. As we enter the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, we have a real chance to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. If countries can restore the nearly 800 million hectares of degraded land they have pledged to restore by 2030, we can safeguard humanity and our planet from the looming danger,” adds Mr. Thiaw.

The COVID19 pandemic has reinforced just how much we need our forests, drylands, wetlands and other land ecosystems: for food, for the green economy, for eco-tourism, as a buffer against extreme climate events. In Costa Rica, our unique tropical forests are a limited and precious natural resource that we cannot neglect. On Desertification and Drought Day, I urge us all to push hard to restore our lands. We all have a role to play, because we all have a stake in our planet’s future.

— Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica

To find out how to organize a Desertification and Drought Day event or learn what you can do to help prevent land degradation and desertification, visit this page for frequent updates and download the campaign materials from the menu on your right. Please submit your event with photos to DDD2021@unccd.int and we will feature it on our website!

You can also follow and support the campaign on social media using these hashtags: #DesertificationAndDroughtDay #RestorationLandRecovery

About Desertification and Drought Day

Desertification and Drought Day – known as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought before 2020 – is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that reversing land degradation is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.

In 2021, the goal of Desertification and Drought Day is to demonstrate that investing in healthy land as part of a green recovery is a smart economic decision – not just in terms of creating jobs and rebuilding livelihoods, but in terms of insulating economies against future crises caused by climate change and nature loss, and in accelerating progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals as we recover from COVID-19.