This year, there is double reason to celebrate the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD), because 2006 is the International Year of Deserts and Desertification (IYDD). Accordingly, the IYDD is the focus of the 2006 WDCD celebrations, and its message is reflected in this year's theme: "The Beauty of Deserts - The Challenge of Desertification".
The WDCD is celebrated every year on 17 June all over the world in order to highlight the fact that desertification is of global concern and to strengthen the visibility and importance of the drylands issue on the international environmental agenda.
This year attention is given - in addition to the world's deserts - to magnificent ecosystems, which have been home to ancient civilizations. The WDCD will therefore also celebrate the fragile beauty and unique heritage of our deserts.
2006 marks the tenth anniversary of the ratification of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the only internationally recognized, legally binding instrument that addresses the problem of land degradation in drylands and which enjoys a truly universal membership of 191 Parties in 2006. The Convention plays a key role in global efforts to eradicate poverty, achieve sustainable development and reach the Millennium Development Goals.
17 June represents an opportunity to remind everyone that desertification can be effectively tackled through strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.
Country Parties and civil society organizations are invited to organize events to celebrate this special WDCD to help raise awareness and galvanize action to meet this important challenge.
To request further information, such as WDCD messages from United Nations officials or press releases in additional languages, as well as past campaign, press or awareness raising materials, please contact secretariat [at] unccd.int (secretariatatunccddotint) .