UNCCD: 2022 Desertification and Drought Day

Drought is one of the most destructive natural disasters in terms of the loss of life, arising from impacts, such as widescale crop failure, wildfires and water stress. Exacerbated by land degradation and climate change, droughts are increasing in frequency and severity, up 29% since 2000, with 55 million people affected every year. By 2050, droughts may affect an estimated three-quarters of the world’s population. It’s a global and urgent issue.

“Recent droughts point at a precarious future for the world. Food and water shortages as well as wildfires caused by the severe drought have all intensified in recent years.

—Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary

Spain is Desertification and Drought Day 2022 host

This year’s global observance of Desertification and Drought Day will take place in Madrid, Spain. Spain is vulnerable to drought, water shortages and connected climate change impacts. The Spanish Government is at the forefront of dealing with these issues and has best practice to share.

“Drought is not just the absence of rain; it is often fuelled by land degradation and climate change. Together, we can overcome its devastating effects on people and nature around the world and start preparing now to drought-proof our future.”

—Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge

Key messages

  • Droughts have always been a part of nature and the human experience but are now much worse largely due to human activity.
  • Hardly any country is immune to drought, but all countries can prepare better to tackle drought effectively.
  • Drought is daunting, as its effects on people’s lives and livelihoods are devastating. But through ingenuity, commitment and solidarity, it can be addressed successfully.
  • Tools are available to assess drought risk. Solutions exist to ensure lives and livelihoods are no longer lost to drought.
  • Everyone can participate in actions that increase our collective resilience because every action counts.
  • Take action on this year’s Desertification and Drought Day and beyond
  • Action can be taken at all levels, from citizens, businesses, governments and UN partners, everyone can come on board and lend a helping hand to rise up from drought together.


The Desertification and Drought Day is a catalyst for action to be continued throughout the year:

  • As an individual, join the #Droughtland Campaign. Sign a pledge to keep your country from becoming a Droughtland – a nation plagued by drought; send a special Droughtland postcard or information booth; tag, post, share and inspire hope. Change your habits and share your actions. Visit https://droughtland.com/ to learn more.
  • Don’t stop on the day, schedule a monthly save-the-water-day. Grow your influence on- and off-line to promote sound water management and drought impact mitigation. Organize drought awareness events. Talk to your community. Seek out drought-mitigator champions and promote their initiatives.
  • Support communities to tackle drought head-on. No amount of early warning will work without action to protect the most vulnerable. Set up drought insurance programmes, establish food banks, build capacity and campaign for water-efficient food production.
  • Regenerate your land. When land is healthy, land is natural storage for fresh water. If it is degraded, it is not. Plant and consume drought-tolerant crops. Irrigate efficiently. Recycle and reuse water. Reduce water evaporation and soil erosion. Opt for a diverse plant-based diet.
  • Engage with schools. Educate, communicate and activate through children and youth.
  • Investigate and disseminate practical drought resilience ideas and inform local communities about the most appropriate actions for their soil and land types. Invest in projects that promote solar-powered water pumps and rainwater harvesting for drought-prone communities.
  • Share your stories about drought risks and resilience with the world.


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