World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought: Local Solutions Will Combat Global Problem

News Bharati    17-Jun-2019

United Nations, June 17: It is a big question whether the ‘celebration’ of such international days really brings about any concrete change! However, it is helpful to divert world’s attention towards a particular subject or a problem and thus can prove to be a motivating factor. Today is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, a day to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The theme for this year is “Let’s Grow the Future Together”.


The degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas can be commonly called as desertification which is primarily caused by human interference and climatic variations. Dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world’s land’s area are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Deforestation, Overgrazing, bad irrigation practices are some common and main threats to the productivity of land. As per the UN report, by the year 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity and two third of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions. By 2045, some 135 million people may be replaced as a result of desertification. Addressing the issue, the UN General Assembly declared 17 June to be ‘World Day to Combat Desertification and Draught’ by the convention adopted in December 1994. The convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the conditions for the people in drylands, to maintain and restore and soil productivity and to mitigate the effects of draught. This year, the convention is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In Ankara, hosted by government of Turkey. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares that “We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.”

InIndia, out of the 78 draught-prone districts, 21 have over half of their areas under desertification between 2003-05 and 2011-13, according to State of India’s Environment 2019. Nine districts have also witnessed over 2 per cent increase in the area. One of the major reasons of increasing the intensity of draught year by year is that the speed of withdrawal of ground water is much faster than its recharge. However, the states like Maharashtra are taking wonderful majors like ‘Jalayukt Shiwar’ which have been proved fruitful in draught-prone areas. Traditional wisdom is also a key factor in solving local water problems. Water is such an issue which single-global solution will not be sufficient to solve it but local solutions will play a big role in combating global problem.