United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development
Topics

Desertification, land degradation and drought

Description

Paragraph 33 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development focuses on the linkage between sustainable management of the planet’s natural resources and social and economic development as well as on “strengthen cooperation on desertification, dust storms, land degradation and drought and promote resilience and disaster risk reduction”.

Sustainable Development Goal 15 of the 2030 Agenda aims to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.

The economic and social significance of a good land management, including soil and its contribution to economic growth and social progress is recognized in paragraph 205 of the Future We Want. In this context, Member States express their concern on the challenges posed to sustainable development by desertification, land degradation and drought, especially for Africa, LDCs and LLDCs. At the same time, Member States highlight the need to take action at national, regional and international level to reverse land degradation, catalyse financial resources, from both private and public donors and implement both the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its 10- Year Strategic Plan and Framework (2008-2018).

Furthermore, in paragraphs 207 and 208 of the Future We Want, Member States encourage and recognize the importance of partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of land resources, further development and implementation of scientifically based, sound and socially inclusive methods and indicators for monitoring and assessing the extent of desertification, land degradation and drought. The relevance of efforts underway to promote scientific research and strengthen the scientific base of activities to address desertification and drought under the UNCCD is also addressed.

Combating desertification and drought were discussed by the Commission on Sustainable Development in several sessions. In the framework of the Commission's multi-year work programme, CSD 16-17 focused, respectively in 2008 and 2009, on desertification and drought along with the interrelated issues of Land, Agriculture, Rural development and Africa.

In accordance with its multi-year programme of work, CSD-8 in 2000 reviewed integrated planning and management of land resources as its sectoral theme. In its decision 8/3 on integrated planning and management of land resources, the Commission on Sustainable Development noted the importance of addressing sustainable development through a holistic approach, such as ecosystem management, in order to meet the priority challenges of desertification and drought, sustainable mountain development, prevention and mitigation of land degradation, coastal zones, deforestation, climate change, rural and urban land use, urban growth and conservation of biological diversity.

The sectoral cluster of land, desertification, forests and biodiversity, as well as mountains (chapters 10-13 and 15 of Agenda 21) were considered by CSD-3 in 1995 and again at the five-year review in 1997.

The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) called upon the United Nations General Assembly to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INCD) to prepare, by June 1994, an international convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. The Convention was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and opened for signature there on 14-15 October 1994. It entered into force on 26 December 1996.

Deserts are among the "fragile ecosystems" addressed by Agenda 21, and "combating desertification and drought" is the subject of Chapter 12. Desertification includes land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. Desertification affects as much as one-sixth of the world's population, seventy percent of all drylands, and one-quarter of the total land area of the world. It results in widespread poverty as well as in the degradation of billion hectares of rangeland and cropland.

Integrated planning and management of land resources is the subject of chapter 10 of Agenda 21, which deals with the cross-sectoral aspects of decision-making for the sustainable use and development of natural resources, including the soils, minerals, water and biota that land comprises. This broad integrative view of land resources, which are essential for life-support systems and the productive capacity of the environment, is the basis of Agenda 21's and the Commission on Sustainable Development's consideration of land issues.

Expanding human requirements and economic activities are placing ever increasing pressures on land resources, creating competition and conflicts and resulting in suboptimal use of resources. By examining all uses of land in an integrated manner, it makes it possible to minimize conflicts, to make the most efficient trade-offs and to link social and economic development with environmental protection and enhancement, thus helping to achieve the objectives of sustainable development. (Agenda 21, para 10.1) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the task manager for chapter 10 of Agenda 21.

Displaying 1 - 76 of 76
Title Type Sort descending Date
20-May-2014
Background papers/Special studies 1-Jun-1995
Logistics 10-Jan-2008
Meeting reports 27-Nov-2007
Meeting reports 1-Feb-2000
Meeting reports 31-Mar-1995
Meeting reports 7-Apr-1995
Meeting reports 31-Mar-1995
Meeting reports 7-Apr-1995
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 20-May-2014
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 14-Jul-2014
Other documents 7-Dec-2007
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 10-Jan-2008
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 17-Jul-2014
Other documents 12-Nov-2007
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 28-Aug-2012
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 12-Nov-2007
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 24-May-1992
Other documents 23-Mar-2018
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 12-Nov-2007
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 20-May-2014
Other documents 19-May-2014
Other documents 10-Apr-2008
Other documents 19-May-2014
Outcome Documents 10-Jan-2008
Outcome Documents 19-Jul-2014
Programme 23-Mar-2018
Resolutions and decisions 16-Dec-2015
Resolutions and decisions 23-Dec-2015
Resolutions and decisions 14-Dec-2015
Resolutions and decisions 17-Aug-2007
Resolutions and decisions 20-Dec-2013
Secretary-General Reports 2-Feb-1995
Secretary-General Reports 15-Dec-2008
Secretary-General Reports 1-Feb-2000
Secretary-General Reports 16-Sep-2005
Secretary-General Reports 10-Mar-1997
Secretary-General Reports 5-Aug-2013
Secretary-General Reports 15-Dec-2008
Secretary-General Reports 1-Feb-2000
Secretary-General Reports 29-Mar-2001
Secretary-General Reports 22-Jan-1997
Secretary-General Reports 13-Aug-2010
Secretary-General Reports 4-Feb-2008
Secretary-General Reports 12-Feb-1999
Secretary-General Reports 29-Mar-2001
Secretary-General Reports 7-Feb-1995
Secretary-General Reports 12-Feb-1998
Secretary-General Reports 15-Dec-2008
Secretary-General Reports 10-Aug-2012
Secretary-General Reports 21-Jan-1997
Secretary-General Reports 11-Feb-2008
Secretary-General Reports 8-Jun-2011
Secretary-General Reports 3-Feb-2000
Secretary-General Reports 25-Jul-2018
Secretary-General Reports 15-Dec-2008
Secretary-General Reports 31-Jul-2015
Secretary-General Reports 1-Feb-2000
Secretary-General Reports 8-Jun-2011
Secretary-General Reports 3-Feb-2000
Secretary-General Reports 24-Jul-2013
Side events 17-Mar-2014
Technical Support Team (TST) Issues Briefs 10-May-2013
Displaying 1 - 201 of 201
Title Category Sort descending Date
Panel and Plenary Discussions on Agriculture, Land and Rural Development Asia and the Pacific 6-May-2008
Japan Desertification 7-May-2008
Arab Group Desertification 26-Feb-2009
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Desertification 7-May-2008
Brazil Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Russia Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Australia Desertification 7-May-2008
Venezuela Desertification 7-May-2008
Combating Desertification and Land Degradation: Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Iran Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Morocco Desertification 7-May-2008
Major Group: Business & Industry Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Canada Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Canada Desertification 7-May-2008
Saudi Arabia Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Major Group: Business & Industry Desertification 7-May-2008
Algeria Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Niger Desertification 7-May-2008
FAO Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Chile Desertification 26-Feb-2009
European Union Desertification 7-May-2008
South Africa Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Major Group: Children & Youth Desertification 7-May-2008
Australia Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Japan Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Norway Desertification 7-May-2008
Major Group: Indigenous Peoples Desertification 26-Feb-2009
China Desertification 26-Feb-2009
France Desertification 7-May-2008
Spain Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Major Group: NGOs Desertification 7-May-2008
Argentina Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Republic of Korea Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Rio Group Desertification 7-May-2008
Major Group: NGOs Desertification 26-Feb-2009
European Union Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Group of 77 & China Desertification 7-May-2008
Switzerland Desertification 26-Feb-2009
UNCCD Desertification 7-May-2008
Barbados Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Morocco Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Prioritizing responses to desertification Desertification 7-May-2008
Switzerland Desertification 7-May-2008
Major Group: Science & Technology Desertification 26-Feb-2009
France Desertification 26-Feb-2009
India Desertification 7-May-2008
United States of America Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Major Group: Workers & Trade Desertification 7-May-2008
Bolivia Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Nigeria Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Argentina Desertification 7-May-2008
United States of America Desertification 7-May-2008
CSD- 17 Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting Panel on Desertification Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Group of 77 & China Desertification 26-Feb-2009
Mexico Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Workers & Trade Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Canada (Part 2) Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Farmers (Part 2) Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Palestine Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Czech Republic Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Indigenous Peoples Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Israel Desertification & Drought 26-Feb-2009
Senegal Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
European Union Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: NGOs Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
United States of America Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Guatemala Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Science & Technology Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Zambia Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Iran Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Women (Part 1) Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Children & Youth Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Japan Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Women (Part 2) Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Canada (Part 1) Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
Major Group: Farmers (Part 1) Desertification & Drought 8-May-2008
New Zealand Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Desertification, drought and land degredation 22-May-2013
Argentina Desertification, drought and land degredation 24-May-2013
Uruguay Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
Zimbabwe Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
Saudi Arabia Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
Tanzania Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
Togo Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
South Africa Desertification, drought and land degredation 23-May-2013
United States of America Drought 25-Feb-2009
Czech Republic Drought 7-May-2008
Major Group: Business & Industry Drought 7-May-2008
Mexico Drought 25-Feb-2009
Jordan Drought 7-May-2008
Canada Drought 25-Feb-2009
AOSIS Drought 25-Feb-2009
European Union Drought 7-May-2008
Major Group: Indigenous Peoples Drought 7-May-2008
Nigeria Drought 25-Feb-2009
Drought and its impact on hunger and poverty Drought 7-May-2008
Morocco Drought 7-May-2008
Chile Drought 25-Feb-2009
Arab Group Drought 25-Feb-2009
Group of 77 & China Drought 7-May-2008
Major Group: Science & Technology Drought 7-May-2008
Norway Drought 25-Feb-2009
Algeria Drought 7-May-2008
Rio Group Drought 7-May-2008
European Union Drought 25-Feb-2009
Major Group: Business & Industry Drought 25-Feb-2009
Guatemala Drought 7-May-2008
Drought: The Other Side of Water, Seeking Root Causes and Sustainable Root Solutions Drought 25-Feb-2009
UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Drought 7-May-2008
Oman Drought 25-Feb-2009
Argentina Drought 7-May-2008
Pacific SIDS Drought 7-May-2008
Group of 77 & China Drought 25-Feb-2009
Major Group: Science & Technology Drought 25-Feb-2009
India Drought 7-May-2008
Land Use Planning and Early Warning Systems for Limiting Drought Impacts and Promoting… Drought 25-Feb-2009
World Meteorological Organization Drought 7-May-2008
South Africa Drought 25-Feb-2009
Australia Drought 7-May-2008
United States of America Drought 7-May-2008
Iran Drought 25-Feb-2009
Major Group: Women Drought 25-Feb-2009
Israel Drought 7-May-2008
Australia Drought 25-Feb-2009
Major Group: Workers & Trade Drought 7-May-2008
Switzerland Drought 25-Feb-2009
Canada Drought 7-May-2008
Major Group: Children & Youth Drought 7-May-2008
Japan Drought 25-Feb-2009
Japan Drought 7-May-2008
Barbados Drought 25-Feb-2009
Republic of Korea Land 25-Feb-2009
Land Land 7-May-2008
Major Group: NGOs Land 25-Feb-2009
Switzerland Land 7-May-2008
Ecuador Land 25-Feb-2009
United States of America Land 25-Feb-2009
Group of 77 & China Land 7-May-2008
Japan Land 8-May-2008
Major Group: Business & Industry Land 7-May-2008
Australia Land 25-Feb-2009
Mexico Land 25-Feb-2009
Land Tenure and Land Use Management Land 7-May-2008
Mr. Rowshan Jahan Land 7-May-2008
Major Group: Science & Technology Land 25-Feb-2009
Tanzania Land 7-May-2008
European Union Land 25-Feb-2009
AOSIS Land 25-Feb-2009
India Land 7-May-2008
South Africa Land 8-May-2008
UNCCD Land 7-May-2008
Barbados Land 25-Feb-2009
Nigeria Land 25-Feb-2009
Integrated Management of Land Use, Land Cover, and Hydrology: Preparing for Climate… Land 7-May-2008
Land policy and tenure at the World Bank Land 8-May-2008
UN-Habitat Land 25-Feb-2009
Thailand Land 7-May-2008
Group of 77 & China Land 25-Feb-2009
Arab Group Land 25-Feb-2009
Indonesia Land 7-May-2008
Switzerland Land 8-May-2008
UN-HABITAT Land 7-May-2008
Bolivia Land 25-Feb-2009
Norway Land 24-Feb-2009
Land Land 7-May-2008
European Union (Part 1) Land 8-May-2008
Togo (Part 1) Land 7-May-2008
Ensuring the Sustainable Use of Commons: Conserving and Building - Common Property Land 25-Feb-2009
Ghana Land 25-Feb-2009
Major Group: Business & Industry Land 25-Feb-2009
Jamaica Land 7-May-2008
Major Group: NGOs Land 8-May-2008
Major Group: Workers & Trade Land 7-May-2008
Cambodia Land 25-Feb-2009
Oman Land 25-Feb-2009
AOSIS Land 7-May-2008
European Union (Part 2) Land 8-May-2008
Togo (Part 2) Land 7-May-2008
Land Policy Options: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Land 25-Feb-2009
Guatemala Land 25-Feb-2009
FAO Land 25-Feb-2009
Netherlands Land 7-May-2008
Major Group: Women Land 8-May-2008
Canada Land 25-Feb-2009
South Africa Land 25-Feb-2009
Canada Land 7-May-2008
France Land 8-May-2008
Pacific SIDS Land 7-May-2008
Policy Framework and Options for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Land 25-Feb-2009
Indonesia Land 25-Feb-2009
Major Group: Indigenous Peoples Land 25-Feb-2009
Norway Land 7-May-2008
Chile Land 25-Feb-2009
Switzerland Land 25-Feb-2009
European Union Land 7-May-2008
Israel Land 8-May-2008
United States of America Land 7-May-2008
Argentina Land 25-Feb-2009
Summary: High-level Segment Roundtable 3 Integrated Land & Water Management for… Land, Water, Agriculture & Rural Development 13-May-2009
Desertification, Drought & Invasive species in SIDS SIDS 12-May-2008
Message on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Statements 17-Jun-2010

Milestones

  • SDG 15 aims at protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainable manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Target 15.3 in particular reads to achieve "by 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world".
  • The economic and social significance of a good land management, including soil and its contribution to economic growth and social progress is also recognized in paragraph 205 of the Future We Want. In this context, Member States express their concern on the challenges posed to sustainable development by desertification, land degradation and drought, especially for Africa, LDCs and LLDCs. At the same time, Member States highlight the need to take action at national, regional and international level to reverse land degradation, catalyze financial resources, from both private and public donors and implement both the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its 10- Year Strategic Plan and Framework (2008-2018). Furthermore, in paragraphs 207 and 208 of the Future We Want, Member States encourage and recognize the importance of partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of land resources, further development and implementation of scientifically based, sound and socially inclusive methods and indicators for monitoring and assessing the extent of desertification, land degradation and drought. The relevance of efforts underway to promote scientific research and strengthen the scientific base of activities to address desertification and drought under the UNCCD is also taken into account by paragraph 208.
  • Launched by the General Assembly with the adoption of Resolution A/RES/64/201, the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification was designed to address the Parties'concern about the worsening of the situation of desertification and its negative impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The Decade started in January 2010 and will end in December 2020 with the aim of promoting action ensuring the protection of dry-lands.
  • January 2008 CSD-16 (Chap.2 C,D,E)
    CSD-16 focused on the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.
  • The International Year of Deserts and Desertification was launched to highlight the threat represented by the advancing of deserts and the loss it may cause to biodiversity. Through this International Year, the UN aimed at raising public awareness on this issue and at reversing the trend of desertification, setting the world on a safer and more sustainable path of development.
  • January 2000 CSD-8 (Chap. 4)
    As decided at UNGASS, the economic, sectoral and cross-sectoral themes under consideration for CSD-8 were sustainable agriculture and land management, integrating planning and management of land resources and financial resources, trade and investment and economic growth.CSD-6 to CSD-9 annually gathered at the UN Headquarters for spring meetings. Discussions at each session opened with multi-stakeholder dialogues, in which major groups were invited to make opening statements on selected themes followed by a dialogue with government representatives.
  • January 1996 UNCCD
    The only legally binding international agreement connecting environment and development to sustainable land management, UNCCD addresses the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found. In 2007 the 10-Year Strategy of the UNCCD (2008-2018) was adopted and on that occasion, parties to the Convention further specified their goals: "to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas in order to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability". The Convention was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and entered into force on 26 December 1996, 90 days after the 50th ratification was received. 194 countries and the European Union are Parties as at April 2015.
  • Integrated planning and management of land resources is the subject of chapter 10 of Agenda 21, which deals with the cross-sectoral aspects of decision-making for the sustainable use and development of natural resources, including the soils, minerals and water that land comprises. Included in the sections devoted to the management of fragile ecosystems, chapter 12 has focused on combating desertification and droughts. The priority to keep in mind while combating desertification is identified by Chap 12.3 in the need to implement "preventive measures for lands that are not yet degraded, or which are only slightly degraded. However, the severely degraded areas should not be neglected. In combating desertification and drought, the participation of local communities, rural organizations, national Governments, non-governmental organizations and international and regional organizations is essential".