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World Day to Combat Desertification Celebrated

17 June 2010: In statements marking World Day to Combat Desertification, celebrated annually on 17 June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja have called attention to the interlinkages between soil, biodiversity and climate change.

In his statement, the Secretary-General notes that the " human, environmental and social vulnerability come together with unusual force and symmetry in the world's drylands.  Climate change will only exacerbate such pressures." He further suggests that, in this International Year of Biodiversity, "we must remember that drylands are areas of enormous biological diversity and productivity. Thirty per cent of the crops that are cultivated and consumed in every corner of the world originate in drylands. The biodiversity of dryland soil also plays a critical role in transforming atmospheric carbon into organic carbon – the Earth's largest pool of organic carbon."

Executive Secretary Gnacadja's statement highlights that “Enhancing soils anywhere enhances life everywhere” is this year's motto for World Day to Combat Desertification, and states that the theme "places soil health where it needs to be: at the very foundation of our survival and well-being." [UN Secretary-General Ban's Statement] [Executive Secretary Gnacadja's Statement]