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World Day to Combat Desertification 2014 Focuses on Ecosystem-Based Adaptation

2014-world-day-to-combat-desertification17 June 2014: On the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD), which is celebrated annually on 17 June, UN leaders highlighted the importance of the Day's theme, ecosystem-based adaptation, and its slogan ‘Land Belongs to the Future, Let's Climate Proof It.'

Through events commemorating the Day, the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has sought to: increase the attention given to land and soil within climate change adaptation; mobilize support for sustainable land management (SLM); and call for the inclusion of land and soil, including their importance to food security, in national climate change adaptation policies. The UNCCD also released an interactive web map, developed by the UNCCD's Scientific Knowledge Brokering Portal (SKBP), that illustrates global sustainable land management knowledgebases, based on national reports submitted to the UNCCD Secretariat.

In a message for the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "We need to manage the land sustainably, avoid further degradation, and reclaim and repair that which has been damaged. More than 2 billion hectares of land have potential for restoration and rehabilitation. We need to inspire action that will prompt the recovery of these areas."

To mark the Day, video messages were submitted by: Michel Jarraud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and Braulia Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Their statements outlined climate change impacts on ecosystems, the focus of efforts to encourage land stewardship, the importance of focusing on nature in climate adaptation, and why ecosystem-based adaptation is the way of the future, respectively.

On the occasion of the Day and in the context of the 149th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Council, the Government of Italy, FAO and the Global Mechanism celebrated the inauguration of the Global Mechanism's office at FAO with a side event on 'Land for Life – How Sustainable Land Management can Improve People's Livelihood and Resilience.' The Global Mechanism noted that its FAO office has been open since 1 April, and is in charge of implementing the Global Mechanism Programme on 'Liaison – Land, Security and Resilience.'

Finally, a 'Global Observance Event' organized by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), TerrAfrica and Connect4Climate and held at World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, US, is hosting discussions with high-level UN and country representatives, and announcing the winners of the Land for Life Award. [World Day to Combat Desertification 2014 webpage][WDCD 2014 Video Messages][WDCD 2014 events around the world][SKBP Map of Knowledgebases][IISDRS coverage of WDCD 2014 Global Observance Event][FAO WDCD 2014 webpage][Global Mechanism webpage][UN Secretary-General's message on WDCD 2014] [UNCCD Statement] [CBD Statement]