A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Sunday, 16 June 2013

World Day to Combat Desertification 2013, 17 June

Día Mundial de Lucha contra la Desertificación, 17 de junio.
Всемирный день борьбы с опустыниванием и засухой, 17 июня.
Journée mondiale de la lutte contre la désertification et la sécheresse, 17 juin.
World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 June.
 防治荒漠化和干旱世界日, 6月17日.
 اليوم العالمي لمكافحة التصحر والجفاف

" Performance Review and Assessment of Implementation System (PRAIS)
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification


The World's Drylands : Desertification is a concept used to grasp the more acute forms of the degradation of land-based ecosystems and the consequences of the loss of their services. Drought is the silent killer—the natural catastrophe that is only too easily forgotten. Experience shows that awareness of the implications of desertification and drought must be expanded and that policy orientation must be backed by robust monitoring systems and related findings.

And the drought is back.... Namibia, the Sahel and United States are facing drought.
Did you know drought affects more people than any other natural disaster?

  Join the Forum : 17 June 2013 is the World Day to Combat Desertification. 

THE FACTS: Since 1979, about when global action on drought began, more than 1.6 billion people have been drought victims. Today, 11.4 million people in the Sahel lack food security due to the current drought.

In 2011, 13 million people in east Africa were affected; most have not recovered. Globally, 1 in 3 people live with the threat of drought. But only 1 COUNTRY has a comprehensive national drought policy? We respond drought with relief; that is reactive. We can do better. Let us change that because drought is predictable, it sets in slowly. If you live in a drought-prone area, here are 2 ways to empower yourself and others:

• Get linked up to your country’s early warning system for advance warnings.
 • Insure all your assets that can be destroyed by drought – crops, home, and so on.
 • Land health is crucial; soil that absorbs lots of water is best. It needs vegetation cover, like trees, to protect the soil from sliding and erosion.
• Share this message with others, so we are all self-empowered.
• Speak up for the setting up of a national drought management system in your country.
• Make your voice count globally. Like and share the online campaign graphic for WDCD urging governments to act.

For twitter: follow @UNCCD and to tweet, use tag #WDCD2013.
On Facebook:
If you are not directly affected by drought do something in solidarity because drought dehumanizes us all and what comes around goes around.
 • Send this information to at-risk families you know for their self-empowerment.
 • Join local and national campaigns supporting long-term drought resilience measures, not just relief.
 • Make your voice count for action on national drought management policies. Like and share the campaign graphic for World Day to Combat Desertification on twitter – follow @UNCCD, use tag #WDCD2013 – and Facebook via

This year’s slogan, “Don’t let our future dry up” calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. The slogan embodies the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and sustainable use, and that there are solutions to these serious natural resource challenges. Land degradation does not have to threaten our future.
Please help us spread the message through social media, sharing our graphics and using the hashtag #WDCD2013.


 United Nations Secretary-General's Message, on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 June 2013

With the rallying call “Don’t let our future dry up”, this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification is dedicated to highlighting the global risks of drought and water scarcity.  The social, political and economic costs of drought are evident from Uzbekistan to Brazil, from the Sahel to Australia.  In May, Namibia declared a national drought emergency, with 14 per cent of the population classified as food insecure.  In 2012, the United States experienced its worst drought since the 1950s, affecting 80 per cent of agricultural land.  In 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa – the worst since the early 1990s – affected nearly 13 million people.
Over the past quarter-century, the world has become more drought-prone, and droughts are projected to become more widespread, intense and frequent as a result of climate change.  The long-term impacts of prolonged drought on ecosystems are profound, accelerating land degradation and desertification.  The consequences include impoverishment and the risk of local conflict over water resources and productive land.
Droughts are hard to avert, but their effects can be mitigated.  Because they rarely observe national borders they demand a collective response.  The price of preparedness is minimal compared to the cost of disaster relief.  Let us therefore shift from managing crises to preparing for droughts and building resilience by fully implementing the outcomes of the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy held in Geneva last March. 
On this World Day to Combat Desertification, I urge the international community to fulfil the call of last year’s Rio+20 conference on sustainable development to avoid and offset land degradation.  By conserving arid lands we can protect essential water supplies, promote food and nutrition security, and reduce extreme poverty. 
Ban Ki-moon



Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 June 2013

Don’t let our future dry up

 We estimate between 100 to 200 million people live in arid and semi-arid areas with limited freshwater resources. By 2025, two-thirds of them will experience serious water stress – facing pressure from population growth, agricultural production, as well as rising salinity and pollution. The impact of climate change will increase water scarcity, increasing also the frequency of hydrological extremes. The poorest will be hit hardest, as obstacles to sustainable development harden. On this World Day to Combat Desertification, June 17th, we must renew our commitment to supporting inclusive and sustainable solutions to managing water resources in dryland areas.
Water challenges are complex, so solutions must be equally multi-faceted. This calls for innovative thinking and for cooperation across the board, to preserve our ecosystems, to eradicate poverty and to advance social equity, including gender equality.
This is the core message of the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation that UNESCO is leading, to promote deeper cooperation to tackle the rising demand for water access, allocation and services.
The Water and Development Information for Arid Lands, a Global Network (G-WADI), led by UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme, shows our commitment to strengthen global capacity to manage the water resources of dryland areas. This builds on four regional networks in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Arab States, which promote international and regional cooperation in dryland areas, for stronger management of water resources and mitigation of water-related disasters.
In collaboration with Princeton University, UNESCO is leading an experimental drought monitoring and forecasting system for sub-Saharan Africa, to build capacity through technology and knowledge transfer. Given the impact of drought in Africa, largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture, this is a key step to make the most of water as a source of solidarity.
With the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, UNESCO is working in concrete ways to promote sustainable dryland management. This must start on the ground, with the inhabitants of these areas, who often belong to the poorest segments of society. Water is the common denominator of many challenges – in health, in farming and food security and in energy. It can be the common solution also –- but this requires commitment from us all, especially for those most affected by water scarcity. This is UNESCO’s pledge on World Day to Combat Desertification.

Irina Bokova
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