World Desertification & Drought Day 2024: "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future"

World Desertification & Drought Day 2024: "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future"

17 Jun 2024

Bangkok, Thailand

Brief Overview and importance:

On June 17, 2024, the world will come together to observe World Desertification and Drought Day under the theme "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future." This year's theme is a call to action, urging all sectors of society to engage in sustainable land stewardship to combat the pressing issues of desertification and drought.

This date holds special significance as it marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Established in 1994 and headquartered in Bonn, the UNCCD is the only legally binding international treaty dedicated to land management and drought mitigation. It stands alongside climate change and biodiversity as one of the three Rio Conventions. This annual observance serves as a reminder of the urgent need to protect and restore our land resources to ensure sustainable development and enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities. This year’s observance is not just a standalone event but part of a broader initiative leading up to the largest-ever UN conference on land and drought, UNCCD COP16, scheduled to take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2024. The goal is to build momentum and foster a global movement towards sustainable land management. While the global observance of Desertification and Drought Day 2024 will be hosted by the Government of Germany at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, almost all the member countries to the UNCCD observer this day by conducting national and sub-national activities with the participation of policymakers, planners, practitioners, youth, academia, civil society, etc to showcase a strong ambition to be united for land.

ADPC provides expertise to build regional and national platforms for data sharing, risk communication, and research, covering climatic and hydro-meteorological domains such as drought. Continually innovating products and services, ADPC supports national and regional endeavours in drought risk management. The Mekong Drought and Crop Watch (MDCW: system enhances operational, technological, and institutional capacities for drought preparedness and response, aiding local governments and the agricultural sector with seasonal drought monitoring, forecasting, and implementing mitigation measures. MDCW also offers reliable, timely estimates of drought severity and impacts.

Risk and Impact Assessment:

ADPC conducts thorough drought risk assessments to identify, evaluate, and prioritize potential droughts and their impacts, which can negatively affect agricultural production and lead to food insecurity. This process involves identifying potential droughts, assessing their likelihood and consequences, and formulating strategies to mitigate or manage risks. By examining historical data, climate patterns, and gender-inclusive vulnerability assessments, ADPC helps governments, development partners, and communities comprehend specific regional drought risks.

Risk Mitigation, Preparedness, and Response:

ADPC engages with governments and policymakers to shape policies and strategies for drought management. Addressing desertification and drought requires regional cooperation and collaboration. The Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management (RCC) is a non-binding regional mechanism that promotes peer advocacy and expertise exchange in disaster and climate risk management. Through research, analysis, and policy dialogues, ADPC advocates for the integration of drought risk reduction and climate change adaptation into national and regional policies, promoting policy coherence, multi-sectoral collaboration, and women's inclusion in decision-making. Recognizing the importance of community involvement, especially women, ADPC promotes community-based approaches that empower local stakeholders to actively participate in planning, implementing, and monitoring drought-related activities. Incorporating local knowledge, traditional practices, and community resilience ensures that interventions are context-specific and sustainable. Community engagement initiatives also aim to raise awareness, improve water management practices, and strengthen livelihoods to enhance community resilience to drought.

ADPC together with the United Nations Convention for Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is currently undertaking a project (2023-2024) to develop a Regional Drought Risk Management and Mitigation Strategy for South Asia. The main objective of this initiative is for the South Asian countries to enhance resilience to drought events that emphasizes on a paradigm shift from reactive to proactive approaches. The strategy will help achieve the long-term objective of countries to develop technical and institutional capacity to manage droughts, and other natural hazards in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner.

ADPC supported Mekong River Commission to develop Mekong Drought Management Strategy 2020-2025 which is a crucial document designed to address one of the most pressing challenges faced by the Lower Mekong Basin countries including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam. The objective of this strategy is to strengthen adaptive capacity of the Member Countries in combatting drought hazards and mitigating drought impacts through a sustainable use of water resources, assist the Member Countries in drought forecasting and early warning for drought preparedness, water resources planning, and impacts mitigation, and develop a regional guideline on drought adaptation to address both national and transboundary impacts.

The Bottom Line:

World Desertification and Drought Day 2024 under the theme "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future" is a pivotal moment to unite global efforts in sustainable land management. It is crucial to recognize that the solutions to land degradation and drought are within our reach. By working together, we can restore degraded lands, lift communities out of poverty, and build resilience against climate change, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come. ADPC also joins countries in the region to observe the World Desertification Day 2024 and to unite with the global efforts in sustainable land management to minimize negative impacts of desertification and droughts.