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Desertification poses a serious challenge to sustainable development and humanity’s ability to survive in many areas of the world. The UNCCD’s goal is a future that avoids, reduces, and reverses desertification. Our work paves the way for a land degradation neutral world, one that fosters sustainable development to achieve the goals set in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.​

Humanity needs productive land. Yet the desertification and the mounting losses of productive land driven by human action and climate change have the potential to change the way billions of people will live, both now and later in this century.​ The warming global climate means desertification poses a challenge across the world, especially in existing drylands. As the global population increases, ever-larger areas are devoted to intensive agriculture. Widely, excessive irrigation erodes precious soil and depletes aquifers, especially in arid areas. ​

Currently, about 500 million people live within areas that have experienced desertification since the 1980s. People living in already degraded or desertified areas are increasingly negatively affected by climate change.​ Desertification aggravates existing economic, social, and environmental problems like poverty, poor health, lack of food security, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, forced migration, and lowered resilience to climate change or natural disasters.​

Addressing desertification requires long-term integrated strategies that focus on:​

  • improving already degraded land​
  • ongoing rehabilitation and conservation​
  • managing sustainable land and water resources. ​

We work with scientists and governments to monitor land changes worldwide and drive efforts to slow land degradation. We do so by focusing on incentives that motivate and drive producers and consumers to change their behavior. ​

We advise and support the development, adoption, monitoring, and evaluation of policies designed to ensure all the world’s land-based ecosystems not only survive, but thrive, supporting the wellbeing of present and future generations.​



billion people worldwide are negatively impacted by desertification​


of GDP is lost due to desertification per year​

Desertification Fact Image

Desertification is a silent, invisible crisis that is destabilizing communities on a global scale. As the effects of climate change undermine livelihoods, inter-ethnic clashes are breaking out within and across states and fragile states are turning to militarization to…

Global Land Outlook (GLO)

Global Land Outlook 2nd edition

The second edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO2), Land Restoration for Recovery and Resilience, sets out the rationale, enabling factors, and diverse pathways by which countries and communities can reduce and reverse land degradation.