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World Desertification Day: Working against drought and protecting our ecosystems

On the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, 2021, a new virtual exhibition on Restoring Soil ("Boden gutmachen") will be launched. This will present various ways to conserve, but also to restore degraded soils. The series of events organized by the City of Bonn to mark its 25th anniversary as a UN city will also take up this globally and locally relevant topic.

Just in time for the 2021 Desertification and Drought Day on June 17, the new online offering will be launched at (opens in a new tab). It was produced in cooperation between the Bonn-based United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNCCD) and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In an online exhibition format that is as informative as it is entertaining, the website offers insights into many areas that are "restoring ground." 

In a short video, Mayor Katja Dörner invites visitors to take advantage of what the website has to offer. Examples from Bonn can also be found. The House of Nature on the Waldau, for example, has contributed a video on soil dwellers to the "Active on Site" section. There is also information on Bonn's activities as a " organic city" with the aim of promoting organic farming. 

On the occasion of World Desertification and Drought Day, OB Dörner will address the participants of the central celebrations in Costa Rica, but also the citizens of Bonn, via video message, asking them to "become active for our basis of life, soil - whether by using a shopping basket or by planting a natural garden instead of sealing the surface." 

Bonn is a nexus of action for climate, land and soil

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recently given the go-ahead for the "Decade on Ecosystem Restoration." Intact ecosystems are essential for the survival of humans and animals alike. In Bonn, as the nexus of action on climate, land and soil, many of the foundations are being laid for this important Decade of Action. The United Nations agencies working in Bonn on the Decade's focal areas include the UNCCD and, amongst others, the World Biodiversity Council IPBES.  

Mayor Katja Dörner points out: "The next decade should bring about the decisive steps for the restoration of ecosystems. This can only be achieved in a joint effort by all! Many threads for soil protection, but also for climate and nature, run together here in Bonn. This is where the United Nations, the federal government and many partners are working together to combat desertification and drought, and to protect our climate and maintain healthy, biodiverse ecosystems."

The UNCCD is working every day to secure action to reverse land degradation," stresses its Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. "The pandemic has shown that when political will, collective action, and sustained investment come together - we can make a difference. As communities, as individuals, as citizens."

Digital event with international NGOs

Soil conservation and ecosystems will also be the topic of the second event in Bonn's online event series to mark the 25th anniversary of the United Nations in Bonn on Wednesday, June 23, at 5:30 pm. Under the title "Local Action - Global Interaction," Bonn-based international non-governmental organizations will provide information on the contributions they are making to healthy ecosystems together with UN Bonn. 

An introduction to the threat to ecosystems from land degradation and possible solutions will be given by UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Tina Birmpili. The question of " What is landscape and what does it need?" will be raised by John Colmey of the Global Landscapes Forum, a platform for interdisciplinary exchange on this topic, which is particularly aimed at the younger generation. 

Thomas Cierpka from IFOAM, the umbrella organization for organic agriculture, will comment on the question of what contributions organic agriculture makes to healthy ecosystems. It is also important to take a look at consumers. Products with sustainability labels have multiple effects - against the destruction of ecosystems, but also in social terms. Melissa Duncan, Executive Director of Fairtrade International, will illustrate how  fair production and consumption supports healthy ecosystems as well. More information on the event series can be found on the city's anniversary pages at (opens in a new tab)

For “Local Action – Global Interaction”, register here: (opens in a new tab)

Background 25 years of UN City of Bonn

The cornerstone for Bonn's development into the German city of the United Nations was laid in 1996 with the establishment of the Volunteers Program (UNV); the Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC) followed shortly thereafter. Twenty-five years later, the UN is represented in Bonn by more than 20 institutions and about 1,000 staff members and has become the center for sustainability within the United Nations, surrounded by a growing network of governmental, scientific, economic and civil society actors. A diverse program of activities and events is planned for the anniversary year, as soon as the pandemic situation allows. Stay tuned: (opens in a new tab)

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