Desertification simply pertains to the process wherein a fertile land becomes a desert. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification explains it as “land degradation in arid, semi-arid, and sub-humid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations and human activities.” Furthermore, desertification is an ongoing process that is typically observed in dry and fragile ecosystems. It typically impacts terrestrial areas (earth, topsoil, groundwater reserves, and surface runoff), animal and plant populations, and even human communities and their facilities (dams, terraces, etc.) .
The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed every June 17 to promote public awareness and cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought .
This year’s theme of “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People” advocates the cooperation of all sectors to restore and rehabilitate degraded land, and ultimately achieve sustainability .
Aside from the implementation of relevant policies in countries that are already experiencing serious drought or desertification such as Africa, the commemoration of the day reminds everyone that we can also contribute in our ways to tackle and stop desertification. Awareness of the problem and the possible solutions to it will go a long way in strengthening community participation and cooperation at all levels.