2012 World Day to Combat Desertification to Focus on Land Degradation Neutrality

World Day to Combat Desertification 201217 February 2012: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has announced the theme for the 2012 celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification. The annual event, which is celebrated on 17 June, will focus on "Healthy soil sustains your life: LET'S GO LAND-DEGRADATION NEUTRAL."

In announcing the selection of the theme, the UNCCD Secretariat noted that, at the September 2012 UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-level Meeting on "Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication," many speakers suggested that the commitment to build a land-degradation neutral world should be an outcome from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). Also during this meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for sustainable land-use to become "a cornerstone of the green economy for poverty eradication and sustainable development."  

The UNCCD Secretariat notes that "zero-net land degradation (ZNLD) can be achieved when, over a given period of time, non-degraded land remains healthy, and already degraded-land is restored," and has indicated that it will provide an analysis of the possible implications and impacts of this target for policy-makers.

In 2012, World Day to Combat Desertification falls three days before the start of UNCSD. The global observance is planned to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [UNCCD Press Release] [UNCCD Webpage for 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification]