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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

On the 17th of June is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. This years’ theme is “Rising up from drought together”, with the emphasis on the need for precautionary measures to avoid disastrous consequences for humanity and the planetary ecosystems. SDG15 aims to promote sustainable land use, combat desertification and reverse land degradation.

Overgrazing, deforestation, and improper irrigation all contribute to desertification and together with the changes in climate, gives way to increased poverty and food insecurity. On this day, we are reminded that land degradation and desertification should be avoided and recovered through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.


The transformation of land is happening at an increased rate, with 75% of natural land being transformed for agricultural purposes. If incorrect agricultural practices are used, this may increase land degradation. We can all play a role in adopting sustainable land use management practices.

The main objective of the 1983 Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act is to provide for the conservation of natural agricultural resources through maintaining the production potential of land, by combating and preventing erosion and the destruction of the water sources and by protecting vegetation and combating of weeds and invader plants.

Additional legislation includes the 2014 NEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (amended 2017) which requires all project proposals that trigger the listed activities (below) to submit an Environmental Assessment to the provincial competent authority to receive Environmental Authorization.

A Basic Assessment is required for projects that trigger:

Listing Notice 1 Activity 28:

Development(s) where land was used for agriculture on or after 01 April 1998 and where such development(s) will;

(a) exceed 5 hectares (inside an urban area) or; (b) exceed 1 hectare (outside an urban area).

Excluding where such land has already been developed.

An Environmental Impact Assessment is required for projects that trigger:

Listing Notice 2 Activity 13:

The physical alteration of virgin soil to agriculture, or afforestation for the purposes of commercial tree, timber or wood production of 100 hectares or more.

How can SES help?

Sharples Environmental Services provides professional advice for land rehabilitation. SES notes that the most important part of the rehabilitation plan(s) is to stabilise the landscape feature or the landform and reinstate the natural habitat before implementing measures to prevent any future degradation. We make valuable contributions to projects and development that aim to reduce negative environmental impacts.

For professional environmental services, Contact us: or (021) 554 5194