UN Secretary-General Calls for Unified Action on World Day to Combat Desertification

OV Digital Desk

In a powerful video message marking the World Day to Combat Desertification, UN Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the urgent need for collective action to protect and restore the world’s lands. Observed annually on 17 June, this year’s theme, “United for Land,” calls for a global coalition of governments, businesses, academics, and communities to tackle the escalating issue of land degradation.

“The security, prosperity, and health of billions of people rely on thriving lands supporting lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems,” Guterres stated, highlighting the profound interdependence between human well-being and healthy ecosystems. However, he warned of the alarming rate at which land degradation is occurring, with approximately four football fields of healthy land being degraded every second.

Guterres emphasized the critical need to adhere to the guidelines set forth in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). As the international community marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention, the Secretary-General called for a significant acceleration in its implementation. He stressed the importance of building momentum towards the upcoming UNCCD COP16, scheduled to be held in Riyadh, and ensuring that the voices of young people are integral to the negotiations.

“Together, let’s sow the seeds for a thriving future — for nature and humanity,” Guterres urged, advocating for a concerted global effort to reverse the damage inflicted on our planet and secure a sustainable future for generations to come.

The World Day to Combat Desertification serves as a reminder of the critical need for immediate and unified action to protect the earth’s land resources, vital for sustaining life and combating climate change. As the world grapples with the environmental challenges of the 21st century, Guterres’ call to action resonates as a pivotal appeal for solidarity and proactive stewardship of our planet.

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