2012 World Day to Combat Desertification


"Healthy soil sustains your life: Let’s go land degradation neutral (LDN)”

The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed every year on 17 June. This year, the Day's slogan is "Healthy soil sustains your life: Let’s go land degradation neutral", said the Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja, when he announced the news to the press on 17 February 2012.

The world's most significant non-renewable resource is fertile soil, which is the peel of productive land. Nevertheless, each year 12 million hectares of land - the area three times the size of Switzerland - are lost due to desertification. Land degradation directly affects 1.5 billion people globally.



Soil is key for securing water, energy and building resilience to climate change. Therefore, the international community needs to take urgent action in order to avoid the increasing loss of land. To this end, this year's WDCD will highlight the efforts required to secure the long-term sustainable land management (SLM).

In September 2011, the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on "Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" brought together political leaders from across the world. Many of them stressed that the commitment to build a land degradation neutral world would be an important outcome for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. Therefore, the theme for the 2012 WDCD is land-degradation neutrality (LDN).


LDN can be achieved when non-degraded land remains healthy while degraded-land is restored. This approach can ensure food security, alleviate rural poverty and hunger and build resistance to major environmental challenges. Successful practices for attaining the LDN in drylands could be then effectively adapted and adopted in non-drylands. This is further elaborated in the concept note and press release provided.

The WDCD has been observed since 1995 after the General Assembly Resolution A/RES /49/1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Everyone can celebrate WDCD through organizing activities such as seminars, media events and campaigns. Every activity involving community participation and cooperation is encouraged!

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@unccd.int.

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