17.06.2019 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Let us grow the future together - World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought “Let us grow the future together” 17 June 2019

Drought,  climate  change,  biodiversity  erosion,  land  degradation,  intensive  farming  practices and poor water management, inter alia, have adversely affected our lands to   the   point   of   today’s  global  desertification crisis,   which   affects more  than  165 countries worldwide. 

This crisis has a dramatic impact on our common environmental heritage, and poses a considerable threat to global peace and sustainable development. 

As stated by the Global Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), launched on 6 May 2019 at UNESCO, there is an urgent need to take collective action to preserve the living fabric of our planet. This implies taking immediate action against desertification and drought, which is our responsibility towards future generations.

Desertification and drought increase water scarcity, at a time when two billion people still do not have access to safe drinking water – and over three billion may have to confront a similar situation by 2050. The world’s most vulnerable communities cannot fulfil essential water needs, sometimes causing them to migrate from lands that have become dry and barren. According  to  the  Secretariat  of  the  United  Nations  Convention  to  Combat  Desertification,  135  million  people  are  likely  to  migrate  worldwide  by  2030  as  a  result  of the  deterioration of  lands.  These  migrations  and  deprivations  are  in  turn  a  source  of  conflict  and  instability,  demonstrating  that  desertification is a crucial challenge to peace.

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