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June 17: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on June 17 to promote public awareness to combat desertification.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had designated June 17 as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought in 1994. It was observed for the first time in 1995. The day is observed globally to promote public awareness on the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious desertification or drought, particularly in Africa.

This year’s theme for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is “Our Land. Our Home. Our Future“.  This edition will examine the link between land degradation and migration. Among others, Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices are responsible for desertification. They have increased the number of international migrants worldwide who have increased from 173 million in 2000 to 244 million in 2015.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development especially the Goal 15 emphasises the need to halt and reverse land degradation.

Desertification

Desertification refers to degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas due to an array of factors. The direct impact of desertification is reduced biodiversity. The reasons are many such as climatic changes such as drought, or human such as overgrazing. Desertification is a major economic, social and environmental problem of concern to many countries in all regions of the world. In 1977, the United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD) adopted a Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (PACD).

On 17 June 1994, on the basis of the direct recommendation of Agenda 21, “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” was adopted in Paris. The permanent Secretariat of the UNCCD was established during the first Conference of the Parties (COP 1) held in Rome in 1997. It has been located in Bonn, Germany since January 1999.

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June 5: World Environment Day

Every year World Environment Day (WED) is observed on 5 June to raise global awareness worldwide for the protection of our environment and the planet Earth. It is the single largest celebration of our environment each year. The celebration of World Environment Day is a global initiative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

2017 Theme: Connecting People to Nature. According to the UN, the theme “implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.”

2017 Host Country: Canada. Canada is seeking to use World Environment Day to showcase to the world the beauty of its natural environment on land and water. Since 1987, World Environment Day has been hosted by different countries. The official celebration are held in that host country. Recent hosts include Angola, Italy, Barbados, Brazil, Norway and the United States.

World Environment Day (WED) was established by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the opening of United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 . The first World Environment Day was observed in 1973 and since then it is being held every year with different themes.

UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices.
UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

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05 June: World Environment Day

Every year World Environment Day (WED) is observed on 5 June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.

2016 Theme: Go Wild for Life (Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife) This year’s theme seeks to encourage conservation of all those species under threat and calls for taking action to help safeguard them for future generations.

2016 Host Country: Angola. The African country is seeking to restore its elephant’s herds, conserve biodiversity-rich wildlife. It also seeks to safeguard the environment as it continues to rebuild after more than a quarter-century of civil war.

Observing this day is global initiative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). To mark this day Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off Tiger Express from Safdarjung station, New Delhi. It is a semi-luxury tourist train launched with an aim to spread awareness among people on tiger conservation.

About World Environment Day (WED)

  • WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of United Nations Conference on the Human Environment 1972 which began in Stockholm.
  • The first World Environment Day was observed in 1973 and since then it is being held every year with a different themes.

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