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    UNIS/SGSM/1026
    17 June 2020

    The Secretary-General

    Message on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

    17 June 2020

    The health of humanity depends on the health of the planet.

    Today, our planet is ailing.

    Land degradation affects some 3.2 billion people.

    70 per cent of the world's land has been transformed by human activity.

    We can reverse this trend and bring solutions to a wide range of challenges, from forced migration and hunger to climate change.

    In Africa's Sahel region, the Great Green Wall is transforming lives and livelihoods from Senegal to Djibouti.

    By restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land, food security is maintained, households kept afloat and jobs created.

    Such efforts bring back biodiversity, reduce the effects of climate change and make communities more resilient.

    All told, the benefits outweigh the costs ten-fold.

    On this Desertification and Drought Day, I call for a new contract for nature.

    Through international action and solidarity, we can scale up land restoration and nature-based solutions for climate action and the benefit of future generations.

    By doing so, we can deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind.

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