Media Advisory/Photo Opportunity: Colorado State University Hosts United Nations for North American Environmental Announcement Nov. 11

What: Colorado State University will host the United Nations North American launch of a global initiative specifically designed to address land degradation that threatens the world’s drylands and could affect the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people in about 100 countries.

Luc Gnacadja, the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), will formally launch the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification. Following the announcement, short seminars will be held addressing land desertification issues and topics in North America. CSU also will sign a letter of intent to work closely with the UNCCD in future research on desertification. The event is free and open to the public.

When: 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010.

Where: Cherokee Park Ballroom in CSU’s Lory Student Center.

Details: CSU is the first university in the world to host one of the UN’s decade announcements. Ceará, Brazil, was the host state for the global launch of the decade in August 2010. The UN is completing the launch of the decade in regional locations. The African regional launch took place in Nairobi, Kenya; the Asian regional launch was in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The European regional launch is planned for London in December. The regional launches mark the official start of the annual observance of the decade declared in 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The UNCCD, established in 1994, is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soil. The Convention’s 194 signatory Parties, work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity and mitigate the effects of drought.

The Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification runs from January 2010 to December 2020.

Desertification is the process in which land degrades into drylands or deserts. Natural deserts make up an important part of the earth’s ecosystems, while desertification is what happens when once-healthy landscapes in dryland areas turn barren from human impacts and worsening drought. Sometimes, as in Colorado and other dustbowl regions of the world, sand spreads into these landscapes, turning them desert-like. But desertified land can be restored.

Full schedule of events on Nov. 11 at CSU can be found at

For more information about the Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification, visit

Contact: Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or, or Yukie Hori at +49 (228) 815-2829 or