As populations become larger, wealthier, and more urban, there is far greater demand for land to provide food, animal feed, and fibre for clothing. Meanwhile, the health and productivity of existing arable land is declining, worsened by climate change. To have enough productive land to meet the demands of ten billion people by 2050, lifestyles need to change.
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year, since 1994, to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem solving, strong community involvement, and co-operation at all levels.
Even more specially these times, considering the COVID-19 situation. Actions based on the clear understanding of rights, rewards, and responsibilities of land management can help address the COVID-19 fallout by tackling one of the primary environmental drivers of emerging infectious disease outbreaks. At the same time, strengthening the resilience of our food and water systems, can help reduce the effects of the pandemic on global poverty and food insecurity. Today, the motto “healthy land = healthy people” promoted by the Convention to Combat Desertification, is more true than ever.
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought with the theme “Food. Feed. Fibre.” seeks to educate individuals on how to reduce their personal impact and focuses on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation, humanity’s relentless production and consumption. This is also contributing to climate change, with around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture, forestry and other land use. Clothing and footwear production causes 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure predicted to rise almost 50 per cent by 2030.
The World Assembly of Youth (WAY) aims to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels. Over 70 percent of natural ecosystems have been transformed. By 2050, this could hit 90 percent. Every stakeholder plays important role in halting any further activity which could worsen the desertification that has already persisted in today world.
We encourage participation of young people and youth organisation on schemes to fight desertification and land degradation by: planting trees in their communities, conducting land restoration activities, and part taking in nature based solutions for climate action initiatives. Let us unite our efforts to achieve a sustainable future and better tomorrow for all!