Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – June 17, 2023

World Day to combat desertification and drought is observed annually on June 17. The holiday observation was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 after desertification and drought became a global challenge that required coordinated international action to address, particularly in Africa. The holiday aims to create awareness of the negative impact of desertification and drought on the environment. Three-quarters of the Earth’s ice-free area is used to meet the ever-increasing demand for food, raw materials, roads and railways, and housing. Drought and desertification will negatively impact this.

History of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The U.N. declared June 17 as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, in addition to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (U.N.C.C.D.). Desertification was noted as a major threat to sustainable development at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (U.N.C.C.D.) was then formed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. Its goal is to promote awareness of the causes of desertification and drought as well as techniques for preventing and recovering from droughts. Each year’s global celebration has a distinct, fresh focus that has never been explored before.

In 1621, the first drought in the United States was reported and observed. The years 1934 and 1936 were the two most severe years in the United States’ climate history. Droughts have also wreaked havoc in other parts of the globe. In 1876, a drought in northern China dried and devastated crops. Thousands of people perished as a result of a lack of food. In 1890 and 1921, Russia also experienced severe droughts. The drought of 1921 in the Volga River valley killed up to five million people, more than during the First World War.

Droughts ravaged almost the whole continent of Africa in the last quarter of the 20th century. In the early 1980s, Ethiopia got stricken by a severe drought. Crop yields were low due to dry years resulting in the deaths of over a million people. Statistics show that drought could put 15 million Ethiopians, three million Kenyans, 1.5 million Eritreans, and three million Sudanese people at risk of hunger. According to the World Health Organization, drought is the main cause of death according to the statistics of those killed by natural catastrophes. World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought was created to spread awareness of these issues.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought timeline

1992
Rio Earth Summit

Desertification is identified as one of the major threats to sustainable development.

1994
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The U.N. General Assembly states June 17 as the awareness day.

2003
10th Observance Anniversary

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought makes the ten-year observance mark.

2018
The Drought Initiative

The U.N.C.C.D. adds the Drought Initiative to help tackle drought issues.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought FAQs

How does desertification cause drought?

Desertification is triggered by drought, while desertification can influence drought by diminishing water-soil content.

What are the causes of drought?

Drought is caused by natural disasters, altered weather patterns, excessive water demands, deforestation and soil degradation, global warming, and climate change.

How can we combat desertification and drought?

We can maintain soil fertility by planting trees, which will result in inland settlement.

How to Observe World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

  1. Tune into special programs by conservationists

    Conservationists deliver talks to the public about how to fight desertification and drought. Take part in the holiday observation by tuning in to such discussions by conservationists.

  2. Share on social media

    Join in spreading awareness by putting up posts on social media. Get others to join the movement by using the hashtag #WorldDayToCombatDesertificationAndDrought to raise awareness for this day on social media!

  3. Educate yourself

    To fully understand the purpose of this holiday and how you can make meaningful contributions, it is important to educate yourself. Learn about dead banks, read articles and watch videos on the effects of desertification and drought on the environment.

5 Interesting Facts About Droughts

  1. 50 million displaced persons

    According to the U.N., drought may displace 50 million people in the next 10 years.

  2. Desertified regions

    One-quarter of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as one-fifth of Spain, are desertified.

  3. Drought predictions

    Drought is predicted by meteorologists based on precipitation patterns and stream movement.

  4. Desertification has a long history

    Desertification is not new; it was an issue since the Sumerian and Babylonian empires.

  5. Potable water

    One of the major problems caused by desertification is a lack of potable water.

Why World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is Important

  1. Creates Awareness

    The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought creates Awareness of issues relating to drought and desertification. It creates public cautiousness about the need for combined efforts to fix the situation to ensure the long-term survival of Earth as a planet.

  2. Reclamation of lost areas

    The significance of this day is that it gives ways to gain back areas lost to drought and desertification. The goal is to reverse the losses that have resulted from the ever-increasing need for food, raw materials, roadways, and housing.

  3. It educates the public

    The day helps educate the public on the realities and negative effects caused by drought and desertification. It teaches the importance of environmental care and protection.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought dates

YearDateDay
2023June 17Saturday
2024June 17Monday
2025June 17Tuesday
2026June 17Wednesday
2027June 17Thursday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.