June 17th – the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
June 17 is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as a day to combat desertification in 1994. It has been observed in Georgia since 1999, after the country acceded the Convention to Combat Desertification. At present desertification and soil degradation are among major problems of the humankind, and they endanger numerous people. Losses entailed by soil degradation are ever growing. Together with ecological problems, desertification is a precondition of many socio-economic threats in worldwide, especially for low income families.
Desertification is a significant social, economic and ecological problem for Georgia, an agrarian country which faces shortage of land. Respectively we acknowledge that – in the context of degradation and sustainable management of land – it is important to celebrate this day and to solve decertification problems in a complex manner.
Generally, biorestoration and tree planting measures are among the most efficient instruments for the desertification and climate change mitigation. Trees, which absorb carbon dioxide – one of the major climate change contributors, reduce its concentration in the atmosphere and respectively the rate of climate change.
GSNE “Orchis” has carried out tremendous work in this direction, including tree planting campaigns in Tbilisi and Shida Kartli Region, what plays a significant role in combating desertification.
The ground for celebration of this day was created already in 1992. In order to improve ecological status all over the worlds, several key documents were opened for signage in 1992 on the Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) – the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. From the environmental point of view so called three Rio Conventions – the Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – were the most important. Issues that are deemed to be addressed through these Conventions and existing problems are tightly interconnected. These Conventions are ratified by many countries. They oblige signatory states to put emphases on ecological factors during decision making process in order to enable future sustainable development. It was the mentioned Conference where desertification problem was initially accentuated stating that combating desertification is vital for human. As a result, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification was adopted on June 17, 1994 in Paris. That’s why a day to combat desertification is celebrated on June 17.
This day represents a unique opportunity, regular reminder and message to all segments of the society that the achieving no-net loss for land degradation and solution of problems could be attained only through active engagement of and cooperation between all cells of the society.