WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT: JUNE 17, 2016

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is annually observed on June 17 to highlight the urgent need to curb the desertification process. It also aims to strengthen the visibility of the drylands issue on the international environmental agenda.

UN desert awarenes day
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought highlights the need to reduce desertification and combat drought.
©iStockphoto.com/James Margolis

What Do People Do?

Individuals and organizations in various countries, such as Australia, Algeria, Canada, China, Ghana, and the United States, have participated in the day in recent years. Many events focus on educational activities to help combat problems relating to desertification and drought.

Promotional activities may include the distribution of awareness raising materials, such as calendars, fact sheets, posters and postcards, to educational institutions and the general public. The day may also feature educational case studies, forums or discussions on drought and desertification, its implications on society and ways to minimize the problem.

However, the effort to fight against desertification and drought does not occur only on this day. Many countries have been making a progressive effort in proactively addressing the issue and looking for solutions. For example, the Algerian Government resorted to a French research and engineering firm, in view of elaborating a national plan to protect the agricultural lands and to fight desertification. Pilot projects in Lebanon resulted in villagers producing za’atar and other traditional delicacies to tackle the agricultural decline caused by years of drought and desert expansion.

Public Life

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

In December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The assembly acknowledged that desertification and drought were global problems because they affected all regions of the world. The assembly also realized that joint action by the international community was needed to combat desertification and drought, particularly in Africa.

States were invited to devote the World Day to promoting awareness of the need for international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought, and on the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.  Since then, country parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), non-governmental organizations and other interested stakeholders celebrate this particular day with outreach activities worldwide on June 17 each year.

Symbols

In March 2005 the UN agencies involved in celebrating the 2006 International Year of Deserts and Desertification organized a logo competition for that particular year. Krishen Maurymoothoo, a graphic designer from Mauritius, won the contest. The winning design featured three elements: a tree, which covers the logo as a protective roof; the Sun, which acts as a symbol of warmth and life; and the dunes, which were formed of several colors relating to the Earth’s land. The current UNCCD logo, although different in some aspects, shares some similarities with Maurymoothoo’s logo: trees that protect the Earth; the Sunlit sky, which brings about warmth in the background; and the land. Both logos use earth-based colors, which include green and brown.

2016 Theme: “Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality”

Slogan: Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Thu Jun 17 2010 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Fri Jun 17 2011 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Sun Jun 17 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Mon Jun 17 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Tue Jun 17 2014 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Wed Jun 17 2015 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Fri Jun 17 2016 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Sat Jun 17 2017 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Sun Jun 17 2018 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Mon Jun 17 2019 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance
Wed Jun 17 2020 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought United Nations observance

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