17 June is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Desertification negatively affects the soil and ecosystems, with dire impacts on people due to the increased risk of food insecurity.

Imagine a land, covered with greenery and forests, which slowly dries up, making space to an unfertile desert. Whilst forests are decreasing globally, deserts keep expanding: 6 million hectares of land undergo the process of desertification each year.

sustainable farming climate change
According to the United Nations Organisation we should modify the way we use soil through sustainable farming and the adaptation to climate change.

The causes of desertification

This phenomenon is mainly linked to human activities, such as intensive farming, the unfair management of water resources, deforestation and the destruction of plant biodiversity to make space to grazing lands. Desertification is one of the most severe threats to the entire planet, from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, to the homes we live in. Everything depends on the resources the land gives us, which are threatened by soil degradation.

desertification human activities
The exponential increase in soil erosion and desertification is caused by human activities and the poor management of natural resources.

Desertification and migration

The problem is particularly severe in some areas of the world, such as in the African continent, but it directly involves also western countries. According to scientists, 60 million people will migrate from Sub-Saharan Africa to northern Africa and Europe by 2020 due to desertification. On 17 June, the World Day to Combat Desertification is celebrated worldwide, established by the United Nations in 1994. The aim of the day is to focus on the problem of desertification, in order to intensify efforts to combat drought effects and promote the fulfilment of the United Nations Convention to Combat Deforestation (UNCCD).

trees combat desertification
Planting trees is an effective method to tackle desertification.

Without a long-term solution, desertification and land degradation will not only affect food supply but lead to increased migration and threaten the stability of many nations and regions.

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