DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT DAY
JUNE 17

17-06-2020

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. The Day aims to raise awareness that LDN is achievable through problem solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.

According to the UN CCD 3/COP.12 decision ”Land degradation neutrality is a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems”. 

In 2020 the focus is on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption.
As populations become larger, wealthier and more urban, there is far greater demand for land to provide food, animal feed and fibre for clothing. Meanwhile, the health and productivity of existing arable land is declining, worsened by climate change.
To have enough productive land to meet the demands of ten billion people by 2050, lifestyles need to change. Desertification and Drought Day, running under the slogan “Food. Feed. Fibre.” seeks to educate individuals on how to reduce their personal impact.
Food, feed and fibre must also compete with expanding cities and the fuel industry. The end result is that land is being converted and degraded at unstainable rates, damaging production, ecosystems and biodiversity.
“If we keep producing and consuming as usual, we will eat into the planet’s capacity to sustain life until there is nothing left but scraps. We all need to make better choices about what we eat and what we wear to help protect and restore the land.”
— Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

With changes in consumer and corporate behaviour, and the adoption of more efficient planning and sustainable practices, there could be enough land to meet the demand. If every consumer were to buy products that do not degrade the land, suppliers would cut back the flow of these products and send a powerful signal to producers and policymakers.
Changes in diet and behaviours can free up land for other uses and lower carbon emissions. Dietary change alone can free up between 80 and 240 million hectares of land.
To address the consequences of the COVID-19 crisisit is time for a new social contract for nature. 

  • Today, more than two billion hectares of previously productive land is degraded
  • Over 70 per cent of natural ecosystems have been transformed. By 2050, this could hit 90 per cent
  • By 2030, food production will require an additional 300 million hectares of land
  • By 2030, the fashion industry is predicted to use 35 per cent more land – over 115 million hectares, equivalent to the size of Colombia

Food, feed, fiber are also contributing to climate change, with around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture, forestry and other land use. Clothing and footwear production causes 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure predicted to rise almost 50 per cent by 2030.
The demand for water in food production could reach 10-13 trillion m3 a year by 2050. This is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than the total human use of fresh water today and could lead to more dangerous water shortages around the world. 
More than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide last year
To date, over 123 countries (including Armenia) have committed to setting LDN targets. 
The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia submitted to the Government the draft decree “On the approval of Land Degradation Neutrality Program”, according to which increase of the organic carbon content in the soil by 1.5% (since 2015) until 2040 is defined   as the national target. The main issues to meet this target are as follows: 

  • Prevent the degradation of agricultural lands   
  • Support the implementation of national program 
  • Support the forest management reforms 
  • mprove the pastures management

The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia in cooperation with FAO is implementing the “Implementation of Armenia’s LDN commitments through rehabilitation of degraded lands and adapting the food production in a changing climate environment” GEF financed Project. 
The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia jointly with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification with the financial support of the Republic of Korea through the Changwon Initiative has implemented “Implementation of Land Degradation Neutrality concept in Ararat valley of Armenia” Project. 


 

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