14.06.2017 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Our land. Our home. Our future - World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June 2017

Our land. Our home. Our future. 

This must be our motto today -- especially in the struggle against desertification. 

The role of environmental changes in migration and population displacement across the world is increasingly clear. Massive numbers of ‘environmental refugees’ are now regularly presented as one of the most dramatic possible consequences of climate change and desertification. And this is only set to increase. By 2030, the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification warned that 135 million people were at risk of being displaced because of desertification, with 60 million people expected to move from sub-Saharan Africa to Northern Africa and Europe.  

These forecasts show that arid and semi-arid regions would be mostly affected by desertification and population movements. Rural populations, relying on pastoral livelihoods, agriculture and natural resources, will be highly exposed due to existing vulnerabilities, including poverty, poor levels of education, lack of investment, remoteness, and isolation.  



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