The purpose of this day is to promote public awareness of land degradation and draw attention to implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). To maximise its impact, the UNCCD Secretariat invites all states, civil society organisations, international and non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders to draw attention to land issues, and educate the public about effective methods of achieving land degradation. Acknowledging that desertification and drought are problems of a global dimension, in that they affect all regions of the world, and that joint action by the international community is needed to combat desertification and drought, particularly in Africa, the General Assembly declared 17 June to be “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.What is desertification, and how is it caused?Desertification is defined by the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification as the reduction or loss of the biological or economic productivity of dry lands, resulting from persistent degradation of dry land ecosystems by human activities, including unsustainable farming, mining, overgrazing, and clear-cutting of land; and by climate change.Desertification can also occur when;• The tree and plant cover that binds the soil is removed. It occurs when trees and bushes are stripped away for fuel wood and timber, or when land is cleared for cultivation.• Animals eat away grasses and erode topsoil with their hooves.• Intensive farming depletes the nutrients in the soil.• Wind and water erosion aggravate the damage, carrying away topsoil and leaving behind a highly infertile mix of dust and sand. It is the combination of these factors that transforms degraded land into desert.Impact of desertificationDesertification is a global issue with serious worldwide implications for biodiversity, eco-safety, poverty eradication, socio-economic stability, and sustainable development.Drylands are already fragile. As they become degraded, the impact on people, livestock and environment can be devastating. Some 50 million people may be displaced within the next 10 years as a result of desertification.What is being done to combat in globally, regionally and locally?What is being done, and how can you play a part?In order to prevent and reverse desertification, major policy interventions and changes in management approaches are needed. Such interventions should be implemented at local to global scales, with the active engagement of stakeholders and local communities.The seventeenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC17) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was held here in Guyana from 28 to 30 January 2019. CRIC17 reviewed the first global assessment of land degradation based on Earth observation data reported by governments. The assessment, which was conducted by reporting countries using a harmonised approach, shows the trends in land degradation between 2000 and 2015 based on data provided by 145 of the 197 countries that are party to the Convention. The assessment provided the baseline for assessing progress in the reduction or reversal of land degradation globally, going forward. It will also contribute to countries’ efforts to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN), which is Sustainable Development Goal target 15.3.In addition to the policy approach, the Environmental Protection Agency, though its various programme areas, works closely with environmental users to ensure proper environmental authorisation is obtained before operations that pose significant impact to air, water and soil quality are carried out. The EPA, through in monitoring and enforcement arms, ensures that environmental users adhere to environmental protection and conservation laws. It also encourages and supports a number of best practices and initiatives, such as:• Reforestation and tree regeneration• Increased education and awareness• Climate Smart Agriculture• Water management — saving, reuse of treated water, rainwater harvesting.• Countering erosion through terracing and other measures,• Enriching the soil with nutrients, and• Turning to alternative livelihoods that do not depend on traditional land uses, such as dry land aquaculture, greenhouse agriculture, and tourism-related activitiesFeel free to share with us, via our Facebook page, one way you plan to join the rest of the world in observing this day.You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at: [email protected] or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.