UN Secretary General: “We are behaving like vandals on the land on which we exist”

Генсек ООН: «Мы ведем себя как вандалы на земле, благодаря которой существуем»

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a visit to the Aral Sea region in June 2017. Photo from the archive UN Secretary General: “We are behaving like vandals on the land on which we exist” Climate and Environment

The well-being of billions of people depends on the health of the lands that support their lives and livelihoods. But people behave like vandals. Human activity leads to the fact that every second lands with a total area of ​​four football fields are degraded. The head of the UN stated this in his message on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. 

Together for the Earth 

This year’s World Day theme reminds us to be “Together for the Earth” , he emphasizes.  “Governments, business and academia, communities and others need to join forces and act,” calls on UN Secretary-General António Guterres. 

He notes that the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, adopted thirty years ago, is a guide for such action. 

The environmental challenge of our time 

Desertification, land degradation and drought are some of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. Up to 40 percent of the world’s land resources are already considered degraded.

A healthy land provides not only 95 percent of our food, but much more: it clothes us and shelters us, provides us with jobs and livelihoods, and protects us from worsening droughts, floods and wildfires.

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INTERVIEWS about the Aral Sea region in two words – “There is hope!”

At the same time, population growth, coupled with unsustainable production and consumption patterns, increases the demand for natural resources , which leads to excessive pressure on the land, even to the point of its degradation. 

Desertification and drought lead to forced migration, as a result of which millions of people annually risk becoming internally displaced displaced persons.

Jobs for the rural population 

Of the 8 billion inhabitants of the planet, more than a billion young people under the age of 25 live in developing countries, primarily in regions where life directly depends on land resources. 

Creating jobs for the rural population – a forward-looking solution that gives young people access to eco-entrepreneurship opportunities while enabling greater use of best practices.

In 2024, the Day’s theme draws attention to the future of land management, which is our most valuable resource, providing stability and prosperity to billions of people around the world. 


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