World Day to Combat Desertification June 17


World Day to Combat Desertification 2014

Land Belongs to the Future - Let’s Climate Proof It


In 1995, the United Nations Organization declared  June 17 the "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought.But the goal of the day is not only to talk about the problems, but also the solutions.

Through proper planning and sustainable land management, the effects of desertification and drought can be lessened and even prevented.

 The effects of desertification, land degradation and drought are the most extreme for the rural poor. Approximately 1.5 billion people globally depend on degrading areas for their livelihoods. More than 110 countries are potentially at risk of desertification.

Rio +20 final report states that desertification, land degradation and drought are problems of global scale, which represents a serious threat to sustainable development in all countries. We will strive to achieve a land-degradation-neutral world in the context of sustainable development which will stimulate the mobilization of financial resources.Land degradation neutral means to improve the condition of land resources (soil, water, biodiversity) for economic, social and environmental benefits, which is consistent with the ecosystem approach.

The objectives of the 2014 WDCD are to:

1. Increase the attention given to land and soil within climate change adaptation

2. Mobilize support for sustainable land management

3. Call for the inclusion of land and soil and their significance in food security into national climate change adaptation policies.

The theme of 2014 World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is ecosystem-based adaptation. With the slogan “Land Belongs to the Future, Let’s Climate Proof It”. This theme has been chosen to raise awareness of the potential for adaptation, based on the ecosystem approach.

Adaptation based on the ecosystem approach supposes the reinforcement of natural systems, for reducing/minimizing the adverse effects of climate change.

When the ecosystem is healthy, it is less vulnerable to climate change impacts and risks.

Sustainable land management increases both society and ecosystem stability.

Ecosystem is the relationship between organisms and their environment (including other organisms).

Man is an integral part of the ecosystem. Each ecosystem provides multiple layers of our life form, which can be described in terms of an ecosystem service.

The services provided by ecosystem basically have the meaning of provider (food, freshwater, fresh air. fuel wood and other essential resources), regulator (climate, natural disasters and epidemics prevention, shelters, habitat, erosion prevention), cultural (aesthetic, religious, scientific, social and spiritual values,traditions, recreational resources) and contributor (photosynthesis, nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, water circulation).

Ecosystem servicesrepresent economic value and should be integrated into the overall economic system.

Ecosystems improper use increases vulnerability to negative phenomena.

Desertification can be described as the final stage of land degradation in the arid regions.

Armenia is also located in the arid zone and exposed to more danger in this sense.

Combat desertification is a strategic issue for Republic of Armenia and included in 2014 government program of Republic of Armenia.

Multiple projects have been implemented in Armenia to combat desertification by funds allocated from State budget, International donor organizations and donor countries.  

These programs are aimed at monitoring (environment, forests, specially protected areas, agricultural land, etc.), irrigation systems and collector system recovery and development, the establishment of specially protected areas, mapping works, forest recovery, poverty reduction, sustainable use of natural resources, pasture restoration, flooding and flood prevention, agricultural land improvement, sustainable management of land resources, increasing public awareness and other questions.

            It is envisaged by the United Nations program to combat desertification 10-years strategy to review the action plan and make it compliant to the requirements of the 10-year strategy of the Convention.

Nowadaysthe Harmonization of "National Action Plan to combat desertification in Armenia” program is implemented in Armenia in the scope of which till the end of 2014 is intended to review NAP and conform with the requirements of the 10-year strategy of the UN Conventionto "Combat Desertification".


Deputy Head of Bioresources Management Agency of the Ministry of Nature Protection, UNCCD Focal Point in Armenia

Ashot Vardevanyan