Earth map dry land

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

17 June

Desertification and drought are issues of a global dimension in that they affect all regions of the world, and that joint action by the international community is needed to address them, particularly in Africa. The United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June to be "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" by its resolution A/RES/49/115 adopted in December 1994.

UNESCO  provides scientific expertise thought its Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) and its Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB). 

Dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world‘s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas; it is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations, and affects the world's poorest. The decisions we make every day on what to buy, eat, drink, wear and how to travel – all have an impact on land resources.

"Desertification and drought, which are a degradation of environmental health, contribute to the collapse of biodiversity and favour the appearance of zoonoses."
UNESCO Director-General
Audrey Azoulay Director-General
Fertile land becoming a desert
"This is yet another reminder that human health and the health of our environment are deeply intertwined."
UNESCO Director-General
Audrey Azoulay Director-General

What UNESCO does to combat desertification and drought

Man and Biosphere (MAB) Program: Drylands
Water Scarcity and Quality
Water and Development in Arid Lands (G-WADI)
Teaching Resource Kit for Dryland Countries


Droughts in the Anthropocene
Knowing our lands and resources: indigenous and local knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe and Central Asia
The Global Map of Groundwater Vulnerability to Floods and Droughts


Resolution by the United Nations' General Assembly
United Nation's website about this day
Past Edition
All International Days