Every year on June 17, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is celebrated throughout the world. This year the theme is “Rising up from drought together”, seeks to promote early and timely action to avoid consequences that can be described as disastrous for humanity and planetary ecosystems.

The celebration this year 2022 will be held in Madrid, Spain. Being the host a country characterized by its vulnerability to drought, water scarcity and impacts related to climate change. At the same time, the Spanish government it’s moving forward in handling this problem and has effective programs to deal with it.

“Desertification and drought, which are a degradation of environmental health, contribute to the collapse of biodiversity and favour the appearance of zoonoses. This is yet another reminder that human health and the health of our environment are deeply intertwined.”
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021

Desertification is defined as “land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities”. In turn, drought is defined as “the naturally occurring phenomenon that exists when precipitation has been significantly below normal recorded levels, causing serious hydrological imbalances that adversely affect land resource production systems.” Article 1 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

According to the recently published UNCCD report “Drought in Numbers 2022. – Restoration for preparedness and resilience”, due to the effect of land degradation and climate change, it is estimated that droughts “increased in frequency and severity, up 29% since 2000, with 55 million people affected each year.” Today, about 2.3 billion people suffer from water scarcity. According to UNICEF “one in four children in the world will be affected by this phenomenon between now and 2040”. According to projections for 2050, droughts will affect approximately three quarters of the world’s population, which is why it is considered a problem that requires urgent and global attention.

“Recent droughts point at a precarious future for the world. Food and water shortages as well as wildfires caused by the severe drought have all intensified in recent years.”
Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary

Key messages from United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in 2022

  • Droughts have always been a part of nature and the human experience but are now much worse largely due to human activity.
  • Hardly any country is immune to drought, but all countries can prepare better to tackle drought effectively.
  • Drought is daunting, as its effects on people’s lives and livelihoods are devastating. But through ingenuity, commitment and solidarity, it can be addressed successfully.
  • Tools are available to assess drought risk. Solutions exist to ensure lives and livelihoods are no longer lost to drought.
  • Everyone can participate in actions that increase our collective resilience because every action counts.
  • Take action on this year’s Desertification and Drought Day and beyond
  • Action can be taken at all levels, from citizens, businesses, governments and UN partners, everyone can come on board and lend a helping hand to rise up from drought together.

From SGK-PLANET we promote the global call of the UNCCD to treat the earth as a precious natural capital and a limited resource that we must restore. It is the duty of each one of us to assume the commitment to attend and fulfill that call, because the future is in our hands.

Aixa Chacin


United Nations. World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June. Rising up from drought together. Retrieve from https://www.un.org/en/observances/desertification-day

UNESCO. World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Retrieve from https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/desertificationday

UNCCD. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. 2022 Desertification and Drought Day. Retrieve from https://www.unccd.int/2022-desertification-and-drought-day

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Retrieve from https://catalogue.unccd.int/936_UNCCD_Convention_ENG.pdf

Drought in Numbers 2022. Restoration for readiness and resilience. Retrieve from https://www.unccd.int/sites/default/files/2022-05/Drought_in_Numbers_%28English%29.pdf