News / 17 June 2021

Celebrating community led initiatives on World Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Day

Today is World Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Day. Such a day is more than needed to get attention for desertification, land degradation and drought that are threatening and hitting hundreds of millions of people in many regions throughout the world. While the causes - such as large-scale agriculture, use of pesticides, water extraction and climate change - are clear and need to be stopped, it is just as important to focus on solutions like restoration and sustainable land use.– in line with World Desertification, Land Degradation and  Drought Day's theme for this year: 'Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land', we will therefore especially focus on inspiring solutions during the next few weeks.

When the international community decided to work together on combating desertification, land degradation and drought in 1992, it created momentum for and gave recognition to the thousands of local organisations that support local communities to use the land sustainably and restore degraded areas. All of these pioneers have come up with innovative, tailormade and sustainable solutions that help improve the livelihoods of communities, as well as soil health, diversified foods and (agro)biodiversity in their surroundings. Some groups and communities have started to use and (sometimes) adapt traditional agricultural and/or pastoralist methods. Others have learned by farmer-to-farmer exchange, by doing, and by trial and error. New cooperation models were created between land users and academics, farmers and pastoralists, rural communities and urban communities.

Spotlight on community-led initiatives

In the coming weeks, we will highlight some of these community-led initiatives, such as a sustainable rooibos cooperative in Suid Bokkeveld, South Africa, agroecological cotton production in Pernambuco, North-East Brazil and participatory plant breeding in Iran. We will celebrate their existence and stress their importance for the communities, for the restoration of ecosystems, and for the whole world, now and in the future.

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