Desertification Current Affairs - 2020

May 22: International Day for Biological Diversity

Every year, on May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity is marked by the United Nations. The day highlights the biodiversity issues.

This year, the day is being celebrated under the theme

Theme: Our Solutions are in nature

Significance of the theme

The theme emphasizes on solidarity, hope and importance of working together to build future of life in harmony with nature.

Background

The resolution to celebrate the day was adopted in 1992. The day was initially celebrated on December 29 till 2000 starting from 1993. It was marked on December 29 to celebrate the Day the Convention on Biological Diversity came into effect. It was later shifted to May 22 to commemorate the adoption of convention at Rio Earth Summit.

Sustainable Development Goals

The say falls under the ambit of SDG Goals of the UN after United Nations 2015 development agenda of SDG. Through this the day addresses larger concerns such as sustainable agriculture, health, land degradation, desertification, energy, etc.

December 5: World Soil Day

The World Soil Day was endorsed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2013. It was officially adopted through a resolution at the 68th UN General Assembly. Since then every year, the World Soil Day is marked on December 5 by the United Nations all over the world.

Theme: Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future

SDG

The day is marked focusing on the Sustainable Development Goal 15 which is “Life on Land”. The goal aims at protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, combat desertification, manage forests, reverse land degradation.

Issues

According to the United Nations, Desertification, Land Degradation are the two major issues of soil loss. According to UNCCD, desertification is defined as degradation of dry land eco systems by human activities due to overgrazing, unsustainable farming, clear cutting of land, mining and climate change.

International Union of Soil Sciences

The concept of World Soil Day was first introduced by the IUSS in 2002 to celebrate the importance of soil. The IUSS was founded in 1924. There are more than 86 national and regional members. It acts as a hub of soil scientists and a platform to promote all branches of soil science and its applications.

Significance

The World Soil Day highlights on the problems of population expansion. It aims at reducing soil erosion and maintain soil fertility. The theme of 2019 focuses on challenges in soil management. It encourages organizations, communities and governments to work towards improving soil health

Why was December 5 chosen?

The late king of Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the main proponent of the initiative. Therefore, his birthday December 5 was chosen as World Soil Day.

Soil Conservation

The day also stresses on the importance of Soil Conservation. The FAO recommends Terrace farming, Contour ploughing, windbreaks, crop rotation, Agrostological measures, green manures, no-till farming, earthworms to conserve soil and prevent soil erosion.