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

Monday, 15 June 2015

World Day to Combat Desertification 2015, June 17

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.
防治荒漠化和干旱世界日, 6月17日.
World Day to Combat Desertification , 17 June.

World Day to Combat Desertification 2015 - June 17

Theme 2015 :'' No such thing as a free lunch. Invest in healthy soils''

United Nations Secretary-General's Message for the World Day to combat Desertification 2015  “Invest in healthy soils”.

 Land degradation and desertification undercut human rights, starting with the right to food.  Nearly 1 billion people lack adequate nutrition, and those living off degraded areas are among the most affected.  Their situation could worsen if land degradation, as projected, reduces global food production by 12 per cent by 2035. 

Food security is also impacted by the decline in water resources.  Due to land degradation there is less water and snow being stored in the ground.  In 10 years, two out of every three people in the world could be living under stressed water conditions. We degrade 12 million hectares of productive land every year – an area the size of Benin or Honduras.  More than half our farmland is degraded, and only 10 per cent is improving.  About 500 million hectares could be restored cost-effectively, rather than being abandoned.  If we do not change how we use our land, we will have to convert an area the size of Norway into new farmland every year to meet future needs for food, freshwater, biofuels and urban growth.  This would cause deforestation and other negative environmental impact.  

The threat does not stop there.  Through land degradation and other inappropriate land use, we release about a quarter of the greenhouse gases warming the planet.  Climate change and unsustainable land use, particularly by agriculture, are contributing to the decline of freshwater resources in all regions of the world.  As a consequence, global food production is projected to fall by 2 per cent every decade. 

A world where all rights to food, water and human security are guaranteed is possible.  But we need to change course and start securing every hectare of land that can provide food or freshwater.  Land is a renewable resource, but only if we invest in land degradation neutrality, which has been proposed by United Nations Member States for the post-2015 development agenda. We must avoid degrading more land and, at the same time, rehabilitate all the degraded land that we can.  Then, we will also be able to make rapid steps towards controlling climate change. 

Our lives and civilizations depend on the land.  Let us invest in healthy soils to secure our rights to food and freshwater.

Ban Ki-moon
No such thing as a free lunch. Invest in healthy soils

Other Statements :


  Message from President Tarja Halonen, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador on the occasion of the WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, 17 JUNE 2015.

 Message from Michel Jarraud, World Meteorrological Organization's  Secretary-General on the occasion of the WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, 17 june 2015.

 Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 June 2015.

 Message of Monique Barbut Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification On the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 june 2015.

The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed worldwide on 17 June every year.  The focus this year is “attainment of food security for all through sustainable food systems.”

With the slogan, ‘No such thing as a free lunch. Invest in healthy soil’, the 2015 observance calls for:
(1) A change in our land use practices through smart agriculture and adaptation to changing climate, especially in the dry fragile parts of the world where food shortages are becoming more and more severe
(2) Access to technology and land rights for small holder farmers who safeguard the environment and meet the food needs of millions of households, especially among the poorest households
(3) A balance in the land use for ecology and consumption, drawing on the best practices
(4) More investments in sustainable land practices so that sustainable food systems become the normal practice and
(5) More effective action on desertification whose effects on security, peace and stability are invisible yet real for the affected countries due especially to food and water scarcity and environmentally forced migration. 
The Day will feature a global observance event in Milan, Italy, during the 2015 UN Expo as well as National and local observances.
To start the preparations, the concept note and logo  are now available. All campaign materials will be posted on this page.
If you are planning to host an event, send us a short paragraph with information about the date, venue and planned activity. It will be posted on our website.
All countries use the land for food and water. Make sure your country celebrates the land by joining us to share the message that we need to preserve and improve its fruitfulness.
                WDCD around the world


The UNCCD National Focal Point of Mali (Ingénieur des Eaux et Forêts et Chef de Section Etudes et Recherche, Agence de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable) organizes the national observance of the Day which starts from the World Environment Day on 5 June until the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June.  The observance involves all sector partners: agriculture, livestock, fisheries, transport, planning, local authorities, technical and financial partners. The observance ceremonial opening is chaired by the President or the Prime Minister, along with the Minister of the Environment.  During the observance period, various activities are organized on global challenges such as desertification, climate change, loss of biodiversity, food security, poverty communities, etc.  Radio and TV stations organize debates on food security, land degradation, promoting best practices, climate change and biodiversity.

To commemorate the World Day to Combat Desertification this coming June 17th, the Journalist Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET) will conduct a forum to bring together government officials, community representatives of degraded and quickly decertifying lands, women’s groups and journalists. The aim of the event is to highlight the situation of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) and to commemorate this year’s slogan, “No such thing as a free lunch. Invest in healthy soils.”JET will launch the guidelines for mainstreaming the National Action Programme to Combat Desertification into sectorial policies, plans and programmes. Additionally, the Compendium of Best practices for sustainable land management in Tanzania and the National Action Program to Combat Desertification will be introduced.
Key speakers will be “land witnesses,” men and women from various villages who will give their testimonies of how they have personally been deprived of their lands. Many will discuss the ways water scarcity and drought affected themselves and their families.
JET will also publish articles, be featured in radio programs and print its own Kasuku Kiswahili newspaper containing the WDCD messages and slogan.
African Union
On the ocassion of the WDCD 2015 the African Union issued an opinion pice on desertification . More  


Bhutan plans to celebrate World Day to Combat Desertification in Trashigang District, Thongrong village. The village has 60 households. The activity comprises of grass hedgerows establishment along contour line and stone  bunding in sloppy dry land  covering approx. 60 acres. The construction of stone check-dams in gullies, bio engineering and plantation in degraded land are other activity. The program starts from 20 May and ends on the Day, 17 June 2015. The Programme will be organized by National Soil Service Center under Department Of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture & Forest, Bhutan in collaboration with Trashigang Dzongkhag with financial support from UNDP and GEF- Small Grant Programme.

The research centre Crops For the Future (CFF) the the world’s first centre dedicated to research on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses focusing on the uses of agricultural biodiversity to diversity crop and agricultural systems is organising the following at their Field Research Centre on 17 June 2015:
1. Launch of T-100 days to the Official Opening Ceremony of CFF new headquarters – Our HQ is scheduled to be officially opened in September 2015. It will house world class plant biotechnology laboratories, controlled-environment rooms, processing and sensory suites

2.  A talk entitled “Combating Desertification with Underutilised Crops” by Dr Ibraheem AlShareef, CFF Field Research Centre Coordinator

3. Tree planting : Azadirachta indica, Moringa oleifera and Anarcardium occidentale – known best for combating desertification

Sri Lanka
The Saviya Development Foundation (Sri Lanka) celebrates the WDCD 2015 through various events, including a tree planting event, awareness raising activities for kids and a national poster/art exhibition.


Under the motto "Essen ist keine Selbstverstaendlichkeit. Investiere in gesunde Boeden" Germany organize an art exhibition and evening event at Bonn's botanical garden. The exhebition entitled "Boden.Grund zum Leben" highlights the important role of the world's soils for food security.


Desertif'actions 2015 - 10 - 13 June 2015 - Montpellier France
Climate change and the preservation of drylands : time to act !
Desertif'actions 2015 is the Civil society International Forum dedicated to land degradation and combating desertification. The forum will bring together over 300 stakeholders  from over 100 countries from june 10th to june 13th in Montpellier (France).

Civil society organizations, scientists, local government, farmer organizations, private and public institutions… will meet in Montpellier in order to share their concerns and built common positions on desertification and land degradation under a changing climate and its consequences in northern and southern countries!

The Desertif'actions 2015 Program includes:
  - Preparatory meetings in southern countries,
  - One preparatory e-forum, 
  - 3 days collaborative work with panel and group work in Montpellier among international stakeholders,
  - One special day downtown devoted to the general public awareness and cultural and scientific events open to the public.
Three lines of work :
- Desertification and Land Degradation: Integrating climatic evolutions into decision making and action taking
- Development Sustainability in Drylands: Creating greater synergy between the three Rio Conventions
- A Pluralistic and Organized Civil Society: Having a true impact and doing what needs to be done
Desertif'actions 2015 is a project certified Paris 2015, COP 21.

More information on our website :
Pre-registration is open :
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The Desertification Research Center, University of Sassari Nucleo Ricerc (NRD-UNISS) celebrates the 2015 World Day to Combat Desertification
This year, the Desertification Research Centre (NRD-UNISS) will celebrate 2015 World Day to Combat Desertification with two events:
The first event with the title "(Musical) variations on desertification",  will be held on 12th June 2015 at The Conservatory on Music “Luigi Canepa” of the city of Sassari, Italy where the Youth Orchestra of Sardinia will play a variety of songs with water as central focus. Event poster
The second event, with the title “Experiences of integrated water management to combat desertification” will be held on 18th June 2015 and it will be a full day Conference at the Department of Agricultural Science of the University of Sassari. The Conference will see the partecipation of various researchers and scientists  from the University of Sassari, the University of Cagliari, the University of Barcelona and the University of Medenine in Tunisia. Concept paper and Agenda
For more information visit the website
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On the occation of the WDCD 2015, the renowned Serbian newspaper Politika reported on the issue of land degradation and how sustainable landmanagemet could increase the resilience of land and soil in the view of climate change. (Serbian)  (English unoffical)

This year, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) in cooperation with Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) and Agroscope will hold a public event, ""Flavours from our soils" – Dialogue and exhibition to mark World Day to Combat Desertification" at University of Bern on 17 June. The event will focus on farmers, their knowledge about soils and its use in agriculture.
See the event flyer
For more information and registration, visit:

Respective governmental bodies and scientific organizations have been preparing relevant activities and WDCD observance events. For instance, the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of the Ukraine (NAASU) has organized 13 events for WDCD including:
May 22
A validation workshop for the developed draft NAP to combat land degradation and desertification in Ukraine, as well as a training session concerning NAP indicators were held. Government agencies, scientific institutions and CSOs participated in the events.
June 11
International Conference: “Agriculture in XXI Century. Problems and Solutions”. Organized by the National Scientific Centre “Institute of Agriculture of NAASU”
June 12
Scientific and Practical Conference: “Measures on Combating Desertification and Droughts”. Organized by the Institute of Agriculture in the Black Sea Region of NAASU.

June 16
A Round Table discussing outcomes of the 3-rd UNCCD Scientific Conference organized by the Institute of Irrigation Farming of  NAASU
June 17
Information regarding the following projects will be published on MENR’s official Web-site.
With the support of the GEF/UNEP project “Development and Alignment of National Action Programme to the UNCCD 10 Years Strategy and Preparation of the Fifth Reporting and Review process,” the Institute of Agro ecology and Natural Resource Use of NAASU and MENR prepared and published a special edition of the scientific journal “Agro ecological Journal” devoted to DLDD.
A competition of schoolchildren’s drawings on the theme: “Protection of Land and Soil” was also organized. Pictures of the winners were used for preparing a poster devoted to 17 June - WDCD. The poster and the “Agro ecological Journal” have been distributed among the Regional (Oblast) State Administrations of the Ukraine and other stakeholders to be used for the observance of WDCD 2015. See drawings 1/ 23/  and the event poster
June 19
International Conference: “Diversity of Soils: Stretch and Time” organized by the National Scientific Center “O.N. Sokolovsky Institute for Soil Science and Agro chemistry Research of NAASU”

Latin American and the Caribbean

Brazil will celebrate this year's WDCD  with an entertaining and colorful   program, including the presentation of the Dryland Champions   certificates, showcase of various projects and early warning systems to combat desertification.

As part of the World Day to Combat Desertification, on 17 June, the National Forestry Commission of Mexico with the National Commission of Arid Zones will conduct a conference in Museo del Desierto in Saltillo (Coahuilla). This conference will analyze the importance of the Global Soil Partnership. In addition, 32 federal entities will organize other activities to celebrate this important day. Students, government representatives and all citizens will take part in the National Day of Soil Conservation.

The slogan for this year was crowdsourced. We thank those who sent their suggestions and acknowledge Jihed Ghannem, Sahara and Sahel Observatory, whose proposal was chosen from the submissions.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
For further information, contact:
External Relations, Policy and Advocacy Unit

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