World's largest drought conference to be held in Saudi Arabia

Country: Saudi Arabia
World's largest drought conference to be held in Saudi Arabia
05 February 2024

In December 2024, Riyadh will host the largest multilateral conference on land and drought in UN history. The corresponding agreement was signed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to the press service of the UNCCD, the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP16) will be held in Riyadh from December 2 to 13, 2024 and will become the largest multilateral conference that Saudi Arabia has ever hosted.

"Today we are losing fertile land at an alarming rate, threatening global stability, prosperity and sustainability. The COP16 conference in Riyadh must be a turning point in our attitude towards our most precious resource – land – and a collective solution to the problem of global drought," said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw .

According to the UNCCD, up to 40% of the world's land is degraded, affecting half of humanity and having dire consequences for climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. If current trends continue, 1.5 billion hectares will need to be restored by 2030 to achieve a world free of land degradation.

According to the UNCCD, droughts aroundWorld's largest drought conference to be held in Saudi Arabia the world are increasing in frequency and severity - by 29% since 2000. A quarter of the world's population already suffers from droughts, and by 2050 three out of four people in the world will face water shortages.

"The COP16 conference in Riyadh will aim to mobilize governments, businesses and communities around the world to provide new impetus for action on land restoration and drought resilience as the cornerstone of food, water and energy security," the UNCCD press service said. 

The location for the COP16 conference was not chosen by chance, because Saudi Arabia is seriously suffering from desertification; the region is most susceptible to water shortages. The conference aims to showcase the efforts being made in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East region and beyond to transition to green lifestyles through sustainable land management.

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UNCCD, one of the three major environmental treaties known as the Rio Conventions, along with the climate change and biodiversity conventions.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a global platform that brings together governments, scientists, legislators, the private sector and communities through a common approach and global action to restore and manage land resources.

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Photo Credit: El Dala

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