Spain, one of the European countries most vulnerable to drought and water shortages linked to climate change, is hosting this year’s global observance of Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June. The event, titled “Rising from drought together,” will take place at the Auditorio Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid. Drought is the theme for the day this year.

The media are invited to participate in the event organised by the Government of Spain and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), where renowned scientists, issue experts, youth representatives, and high-level policymakers from Spain and around the world will speak about:

• The role of science-based on the drought risks identified for different climate change scenarios

• Success stories of drought mitigation and adaptation in Spain and other countries.

• Viable drought policies and their components

Pedro Sanchez, President of the Government of Spain; Alain-Richard Donwahi, President of UNCCD COP15, Cote d’Ivoire; Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and Patricia Kombo, UNCCD Land Hero from Kenya are among the notable speakers (see full list below).

Droughts are becoming more common and severe, increasing by 29 percent since 2000 and affecting an estimated 55 million people each year, according to the UNCCD’s latest Drought in Numbers report. By 2050, drylands may cover between 50 and 60 percent of all land, with estimated three-quarters of the world’s population living in these areas under conditions of severe water scarcity. The Horn of Africa, for example, is in its fourth year of drought. A similar drought in Southern Africa five years ago put 20 million people on the verge of starvation. This year, Chile marked a record-breaking 13th year of drought. A prolonged drought in the United States that started in 2000 is the country’s driest period in over 1200 years.

In the lead-up to the 2022 Desertification and Drought Day, UNCCD launched Droughtland, a public awareness campaign featuring a fictional drought-stricken nation, to showcase solutions and rally global action to boost drought resilience. Detailed information, which includes the program, media resources, and background documents to facilitate coverage of the event, is provided below.