The United Nations Decade for Deserts (2010-2020) and the fight against Desertification

Of the Convention’s 197 Parties, 169 countries have declared that they are affected by desertification. More than 1.5 billion people directly depend on land that is slowly being degraded.

Every year 75 billion tons of fertile soil is lost to land degradation. Similarly 12 million hectares of land are lost every year to desertification and drought alone. This is an area that could produce 20 million tons of grain. Desertification and land degradation cause USD 42 billion in lost earnings each year.

In 2007, the UN General Assembly declared 2010-2020 The United Nations Decade for Deserts and the fight against Desertification. The purpose of the Decade is to mobilize global action to fight land degradation, promote sustainable management of land resources and ensure long-term ability of drylands to support the livelihoods of local populations.


Increased competition for depleted dryland resources can generate localized conflict and broader tensions.

BAN KI-MOON - United Nations Secretary-General


Land degradation is a problem worldwide. Land restoration and rehabilitation are the answer. Let us act now to avoid the devastating consequences of inaction. Please visit the following pages and read success stories in the left-hand menu to learn more about practical solutions to the global issues of land degradation and desertification:


  • 2017: Gender Day, Ordos, China
  • 2016: Land for Life – Create Wealth Transform Lives
  • 2015: Living Land Book Marks The Decade
  • 2015: Land for Life – Managing Land Sustainably for Better Livelihoods
  • 2015: Gender Day, Ankara, Turkey
  • 2014: TerrAfrica Green Radio Competition on Sustainable Land and Water Management Coverage
  • 2013: Deserts and Desertification Film Festival in Namibia
  • 2013: Gender Day, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2012: Youth4Land Online Media Campaign Launched
  • 2011: Celebrity Musicians Honor UNDDD with Performances in the Algerian Sahara Desert
  • 2010: Launch of The UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification with events in Africa, the Asia-Pacific Region, Europe and North America

Messages from heads of agencies