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66. Desertification and Drought Day

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June 17th each year is designated by the United Nations as “Desertification and Drought Day”, which aims to change public attitudes on insatiable production and consumption of humankind which are the leading drivers of desertification and land degradation. To meet the demand of about 10 billion people by 2050, it is necessary to change lifestyles, and aim for individual awareness reform under the slogan of “Food. Feed. Fiber.”. This year's theme is about people's consumption and the health of the landscape. 

In an interview with Frank Turyatunga, Deputy Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Africa Regional Office, he stressed that healthy ecosystems are essential to support a healthy planet and healthy people, so it is necessary to invest in sustainable management of ecosystems.

As to the main drivers of land degradation in sub-Saharan Africa, he enumerated the expansion of farmlands to feed a rapidly growing population, the use of charcoal as fuel source, and climate change.

He also said that Africa is one of the most rapidly urbanized regions in the world, and the increasing demand for food and fuel, etc. due to urbanization causes loss of the rural ecosystem and land degradation. The only solution is to seek a more sustainable management method for nature. It requires a change in people's awareness and investment in land planning. The solution is to involve young people and companies by using digital technology for sustainable land management and payment for ecosystem services (PES). 



UNEP. Protect landscapes to protect humanity. June 16, 2020. 

Iiyama M, et al. (2014) The potential of agroforestry in the provision of sustainable woodfuel in sub-Saharan Africa. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. Vol. 6C, pp. 138-147. 

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)

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