The celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification corresponds to the anniversary of the signing in Paris, on June 17, 1994, of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
The fight against desertification and land degradation is a key challenge with respect to agricultural and rural development, poverty reduction and food security for a third of the global population.
Arid zones, which are extremely sensitive to the land degradation process, account for 41% of the earth’s surface. 2 billion people live in these zones and are dependent on natural resources for their survival. 10 to 20% of these arid zones have already suffered serious degradation and, if nothing is done, an area equivalent to 1/5 of France will continue to be lost every year. 72% of these zones at risk are in developing countries.
In order to meet this challenge, France is focusing on providing financing for field projects, research and institutional support directly to the countries and the regional and multilateral institutions.
France’s bilateral aid increased to €100 million per year from 2008 to 2009 and focused on Africa and the Mediterranean countries; in terms of multilateral funding, France contributed almost €353 million in 2008 and more than €423 million in 2009.
In addition to this day, 2011 and 2012 will be marked by major international events in support of the fight against land degradation and desertification.
A high-level meeting on the fight against desertification and land degradation, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 20, 2011;
The 10th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification which will take place in Korea in October;
The World Water Forum in Marseille in March 2012;
The "Rio+20" Conference in June 2012.
In this context, France will continue to mobilize its efforts to encourage improved international environmental governance, and to give the fight against land degradation and desertification the attention it deserves.
Learn more about desertification.