UN Launches Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification

16 August 2010: The UN has launched the Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification, which will run from 2010-2020 and will seek to raise awareness and action to improve the protection and management of the world's drylands. 

In a statement announcing the launch, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Continued land degradation – whether from climate change, unsustainable agriculture or poor management of water resources – is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected communities and robbing the world of productive land.” The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is spearheading events to mark the Decade, along with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

The global launch took place in Fortaleza, Brazil, during the Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010).  The regional launch for Africa was held in Nairobi, Kenya, at the headquarters of UNEP and in partnership with UNDP. Other regional launches are scheduled to take place in New York, US, in September, for the North American Region, in the Republic of Korea in October, for the Asian Region, and in November for the European region. [UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification Website] [UN News Release] [IISD RS Coverage of ICID 2010 and the Launch]