17 June 2013: World Day on Combating Desertification.

Water scarcity and Drought. Don’t let our future dry up.

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification.

Ever since, country Parties to the Convention, organizations of the United Nations System, international and non-governmental organizations and institutes and other interested stakeholders have celebrated this particular day with a series of outreach activities worldwide.

As a follow-up of its inauguration in 2008, the UNESCO Chair on Eremology of Ghent University, Belgium, organized a First Conference on Desertification, focusing on ‘Combating Desertification: assessment, adaptation and mitigation strategies’. A Second Conference on Desertification was organized in 2009, covering ‘Methods for assessing and monitoring desertification and land degradation, forecasting precipitation and drought and ways to restore degraded land’. In 2010 the Third Conference on Desertification and Land Degradation was jointly organized by the UNESCO Chair on Eremology and ESSC (European Society for Soil Conservation) dealing with ‘Land degradation processes and assessment. Wind erosion, interrill erosion, gully erosion, land cover features’. The conference was preceded by a Workshop on the ‘Action of Wind and Rain on Soil Degradation Processes’. The Fourth Conference on Desertification and Land Degradation took place in June 2012 which brought together scientists concerned with global and regional environmental problems dealing with mitigation of desertification and land degradation.

The World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17, 2013 is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification and land degradation in different climatic zones can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community, school and stakeholder participation and co-operation at all levels. Let’s show what has been done!


18 June 2013: Day on Desertification and Land Degradation.
Don’t waste and lose your and our land.

Desertification refers to the land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. When land degradation happens in the world's drylands, it often creates desert-like conditions. Globally, 24% of the land is degrading. About 1.5 billion people directly depend on these degrading areas. Nearly 20% of the degrading land is cropland, and 20-25%, rangeland.

Land degradation occurs in all climatic zones under the forms of erosion by (excess of) water, by wind, because of mechanical compaction, as degradation of the soil structure with soil sealing and crusting, and by contamination due to excess use of fertilizers, the presence of salinity and heavy metals.

It is time to show the community how those problems of land degradation not only can be assessed and identified and downscaled but also how they can be tackled and prevented. There are a number of ways and innovative means and methodology for managing and restoring degraded land, tools for decision support at all levels. Demonstrate and show what you have done! Save our land!

Important Dates

  • February 15th 2013 - Deadline abstract Submission.
  • March 14th 2013 - Poster and Oral presentation selection announced by Desertland organization.
  • March 31st 2013 - Early Bird Deadline.
  • May 31st 2013 - Registration Deadline.


Program schedule

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