KKL-JNF on WDCD – World Day to Combat Desertification

June 17, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCD) promote public awareness about desertification.

The UN General Assembly declared June 17, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – WDCD. The theme of this year's WDCD is "Land belongs to the future". Over the years KKL-JNF has invested extensive resources in a broad ecological and environmental program to combat desertification and to upgrade degraded land.


A liman. Photo: Tania Susskind

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCD) to promote public awareness of the issue and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification. It has been observed on June 17 every year since then, and 2014 is no exception.

The theme of this year's WDCD is "Land belongs to the future, let's climate-proof it." Objectives of WDCD 2014 include increasing the attention given to land and soil at times of climate change, mobilizing support for sustainable land management, and including land and soil and their significance for food security into national climate change adaptation policies.

In Israel, the concept of combating desertification was accepted long before anyone had coined the concept of climate change. As a country that is largely arid, Israel has met the challenge of managing desert lands and combating desertification. KKL-JNF is the leading body in this field and over the years, it has invested extensive resources in a broad ecological and environmental program to combat desertification and to upgrade degraded land. The experience, practical know-how and technologies developed by KKL-JNF in forest management, water reclamation and conservation, and soil erosion prevention, may serve as a model for countries in similar semi-arid and arid regions of the world.


Yatir forest. Photo: Tania Susskind

KKL-JNF, with help of its friends worldwide, funds and conducts ongoing research on desertification in cooperation with Israel’s higher educational and research institutions. It has gained substantive and specialized knowledge in spheres such as the management of adapted forests, forest interaction in semi-arid regions, research and monitoring, soil conservation and biological pest control.

As a result of Israel’s cumulative experience in this field, many countries view Israel as a professional authority on central ecological issues, of which the primary ones are combating desertification and forest development. Researchers from around the world are very interested in the methods that Israel has developed for desert afforestation and agriculture, and KKL-JNF has held several international conferences on the subject in recent years. KKL-JNF is more than willing to share its experience, research and technologies with agencies and countries facing similar challenges and help in turning climate threats into opportunities for advancing sustainable land and afforestation practices. KKL-JNF also takes part in the ongoing discussions led by the International Arid Land Consortium (IALC) and the Middle East Research Cooperation


Metar community in the Negev desert. Photo: Tania Susskind

(MERC).

In the words of KKL-JNF Chief Forester David Brand: "Over the years, KKL-JNF has developed advanced techniques for collecting runoff water in regions where precipitation is low. This allows us to plant trees at widely spaced intervals, and although it does not produce a dense forest, it creates areas that provide ecological benefits such as shade and grazing. Many countries throughout the world are learning from us how to combat desertification, how to conserve land and how to plant forests in arid and semi-arid regions."