UN: World losing 4 football fields worth of healthy land per second



ANKARA – The world is losing almost four football fields worth of healthy land every second due to degradation from desertification, data by the United Nations suggest.

At this rate, over 100 million hectares of healthy land are lost annually, according to data compiled by Anadolu ahead of June 17, marked as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought since 1994.

Anadolu gathered data from international organizations on drought, desertification, and their impacts.

UN data reveals that since 1900, droughts have killed at least 11 million people while affecting over 2 billion people.

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought aims to raise public awareness about desertification, land degradation and drought.

This year the day will be marked with the theme, "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future." It aims to mobilize all segments of society to support sustainable land stewardship.

According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), nearly 84% of all terrestrial ecosystems face the risk of drought-related wildfires.

In regions with rapid population growth and food security challenges, climate change would further increase the risk of drought.

Future projections

More than 70% of the countries define the impacts of drought and climate change as national security issues.

Migration is also considered a national security concern. It is predicted that by 2045, 135 million people may be displaced due to desertification.

The World Bank estimates that by 2050, factors such as drought, water scarcity, declining crop productivity, rising sea levels, and extreme population density could force approximately 216 million people to migrate.

Drought warning

Currently, 3.6 billion people live in areas that experience at least one month of water scarcity each year. By 2050, it is estimated that 4.8 to 5.7 billion people will live in such areas.

In the last 100 years, 44% of droughts, which affected over three-quarters of the world’s population, occurred in Africa. Moreover, of the 134 drought events in the past 20 years, 70 were in Africa.

It is estimated that two-thirds of African land has already been degraded, affecting approximately 485 million people. (Anadolu)