Preventing drought and desertification

Md Zillur Rahaman

WORLD Desertification and Drought Day is observed on June 17 each year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The process of adopting the International Convention on Desertification began shortly after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, and in the light of this convention, the UN declared a separate day on this issue in 1994. Following the declaration, Drought and Desertification Prevention Day has been observed globally since June 17, 1995.

One-fourth of the world’s area is land and a large part of this land has already been deserted. Due to poor drainage and salinity, a large part of arable land is facing degradation today. Desertification is a big threat to and a serious challenge for the future world. Just as desertification is a global problem, so it is our concern too. Due to an increase in population, our crop land is decreasing day by day and the balance in the environment is being lost. At the same time, the vegetation is declining. Rivers are drying up. The condition of other reservoirs is also miserable. As our crop land is declining and losing its fertility due to drought, we must pay due attention to the environment.

The United Nations says that about 1.5 billion people worldwide depend on eroded land for their livelihood and 42 per cent of the world’s extremely poor live in decaying areas, living in extreme insecurity. This erosion has further accelerated climate change, which is not only a threat to our survival but also to our peace and stability.

For this reason, there is no suitable alternative to extensive afforestation and tree planting to protect this decaying land from drought and desertification. Bear in mind that trees are our best friend, an invaluable resource for people and the environment. The contribution of trees as suppliers of food, clothing, nutrition, shelter, medicines, and other necessities is undeniable, as well as they play an important role in maintaining the balance and protection of the environment. The existence of the animal kingdom depends on the plant world. The forest cover of Bangladesh is very insignificant, while the government’s apathy to preserve the existing forest is worrying.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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