Sunday 22 May 2022
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UN soil report: increasing drought 'wake-up call' for Europe

Globally, drought has increased by almost a third in the past twenty years. Both the number of droughts and their duration have increased by 29 percent since the year 2000.

That has caused a loss of about 124 billion dollars, according to the new United Nations drought report. 

The report was presented Wednesday at the 15th World Soil Conference in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, in West Africa. “Land dries up, fertile soil turns to dust,” warned Ibrahim Thiaw, secretary of the International Convention for the Protection of Soils (UNCCD). Droughts are one of the biggest threats to sustainable development, he says. 

While the lack of water, loss of fertile soil and ongoing drought have hit underdeveloped countries so far, other regions are now increasingly affected by drought. The United Nations calls the increasing drought in Europe a "wake-up call for Europeans". 

The Netherlands is currently experiencing one of the driest springs ever, according to figures from the KNMI. It will be warm in the next two weeks, and that will have major consequences for agriculture and nature. Various measures are already being taken here and there.

In Brabant, for example, there is a ban on pumping water from ditches and streams, and the Veluwemeer receives extra water from the Markermeer to prevent the water level from dropping too far.

According to the UN, some 160 million children have been exposed to severe and persistent drought this year, and more than 2.3 billion people worldwide have insufficient access to water. It is estimated that in 20 years, one in four children worldwide could experience water shortages.


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