2016 Theme: Inclusive cooperation for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality
The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed worldwide on 17 June every year. The slogan of 2016 is “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People”
Baobab tree in a degraded, arid landscape in Kenya's Eastern province. Photo: Flore de Preneuf / World Bank
There is probably no greater issue than land in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that touches everyone. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear and the houses we live – it all stems from land resources. In order to “leave no one behind” as proclaimed in the new Sustainable Development Goals, achieving land degradation neutrality needs to be in the forefront to meet our requirements and develop sustainability.
This year's World Day to Combat Desertification advocates for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals.
Theme and slogan
Inclusive cooperation among all actors is key for making Land Degradation Neutrality a fundamental solution for achieving SDGs. The slogan, “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.” addresses the importance of comprehensive participation and cooperation in working towards achieving Land Degradation Neutrality.
The global observance event on 17 June 2016 will be held in Beijing, China, hosted by the State Forestry Administration of China (SFA). In 2013, China embarked on the new development strategy, “The Belt and Road,” aiming to strengthen cooperation among countries primarily in Eurasia. Since then, it has been promoting green and low-carbon infrastructure construction in cooperation with the neighboring countries connected by the historic Silk Road.
By organizing the global observance in China, the 2016 WDCD will demonstrate how Land Degradation Neutrality can be a critical element for achieving other sustainable development goals, especially for promotion of inclusive and sustainable economic growth. At the global observance, the host country will announce the “One Belt and One Road Joint Action to Combating Desertification Initiative” together with interested countries and stakeholders.
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.
As the host country of this year's global observance, China is planning a series of events. The global observance will be held on 17 June in People's Congress Hall in the morning and Beijing International Hotel in the afternoon. About 300 people are expected to participate in the event. At the global observance, China will announce the “One Belt and One Road Joint Action to Combating Desertification Initiative” together with interested countries and stakeholders.
In the afternoon of 17 June, the China Green Foudation will organize a CSO event to share cases on sustainable land management, conserving and restoring land, public awareness education, etc.
Lanzhou International Marathon is one of China's most well-known marathons held in the northwest dryland region of China. Over 40,000 runners are expected to participate in the run this year. The organizing committee will integrate the World Day message as the theme for this year's marathon. The message will be sent through the event via social media. The marathon will be held on 11 June. On the same day, a WDCD Pavilion will be held on the spot.
From 17 June to 16 July, the WDCD slogan, “Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People.” will be displayed in the subway trains in cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou.