2021 Desertification and Drought Day

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a United Nations observance celebrated each year on 17 June. Its purpose is to raise awareness around desertification and drought, highlighting methods on how to prevent these from occurring. The 2021 edition focuses on turning degraded land into healthy land - the event key words are restoration, land and recovery.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is working together with the Ministry of Environment (MINAE) of Costa Rica, the host of the global observance, to encourage households, communities, private sector and countries to have a better relationship with nature as the world recover from COVID-19.

"Restoring degraded land brings economic resilience, creates jobs, raises incomes and increases food security. It helps biodiversity to recover. It locks away the atmospheric carbon warming the Earth, slowing climate change. It can also lessen the impacts of climate change and underpin a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Avoiding, slowing and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems now is both urgent and important for a swift recovery from the pandemic and for guaranteeing the long-term survival of people and the planet," states UNCCD.

In connection to the day, a UN General Assembly High-level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought was held on 14 June. The event was broadcast on UN Web TV and UNCCD's Facebook page.

Full details about the 2021 Desertification and Drought Day are available on the dedicated UNCCD web page and a social media pack has been released for public participation online.

GWP on 17 June

GWP will commemorate the Day by joining UNCCD's online campaign and also through activities connected to the joint GWP/WMO Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP). GWP Senior Water & Climate Specialist Valentin Aich shares highlights from the IDMP Technical Support Unit in this interview.

On 17 June, the IDMP team is organising a topical session on the topic of drought monitoring and forecasting. To participate in the event, please reach out to valentin.aich@gwp.org for an invitation.

Event agenda:

  • Welcome, IDMP Technical Support Unit
  • Remarks on behalf of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021, Daniel Tsegai (Programme Officer UNCCD)
  • Towards regular drought status bulletins for irrigation systems in Central Asia using remote sensingProf. Dr. Christopher Conrad (Geoecologist, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)
  • The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum's drought outlooks - successes in providing actionable drought forecasts for drought early warning in Small Island Developing StatesDr. Cédric Van Meerbeek (Climatologist, The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, Barbados)
  • Drought Monitoring and Forecasting at NMHSs in WMO Region V: Impact and Value of WMO SWCEM and CREWSProf. Dr. Yuriy Kuleshov (Australian Bureau of Meteorology and The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University Australia)
  • Q&A, Discussion