Combating land degradation for sustainable agriculture
In order to work along the same lines with the 16th and 17th sessions of the third implementation cycle of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) focusing on the issues of Agriculture, Rural development, Land, Drought, Desertification, and Africa, the UNCCD Secretariat proposed that this year’s celebration of 17 of June be focused around the themes of Combating Land Degradation for Sustainable Agriculture. This constituted a concrete way to support the discussions of the 16th session and provided useful inputs for the 17th CSD, next May 2009.
The issue is a real challenge in the modern society, both in developed and developing countries, as land degradation cannot be solved by the effort of one country alone due to the increasing concern on climate change. Land degradation intensifies agricultural economic losses, disorganizes local and regional food markets, and causes social and political instability.
This year's celebration was also significant in the light of the adoption of the 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention (The Strategy) that became a turning point in the UNCCD process. The Strategy recognizes the convention as an instrument to prevent, control and reverse desertification/land degradation and also to contribute to the reduction of poverty while promoting sustainable development.
The 2008 World Day to Combat Desertification has been celebrated all around the world. More than 40 events took place at local, regional, national and international level and included workshops, university lectures, cultural exhibitions, awareness raising and promotional activities such as competitions, plant sales, video and film projections and many others. National Governments, Universities, Civil society organizations, NGOs, international organizations, schools, medias and the private sector have all contributed to these celebrations.