Desertification is a form of land degradation in drylands. It is a growing threat in the EU. The long period of high temperatures and low rainfall in the summer of 2018 was a reminder of this problem's pressing importance. Climate change scenarios indicate an increasing vulnerability to desertification in the EU throughout this century, with increases in temperatures and droughts and less precipitation in southern Europe. Desertification's effects will be particularly acute in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.
This report finds that the risk of desertification in the EU is not being effectively and efficiently addressed. While desertification and land degradation are growing threats, the steps taken to combat desertification lack coherence. There is no shared vision in the EU about how land degradation neutrality will be achieved by 2030. The authors recommend that the Commission should aim at a better understanding of land degradation and desertification in the EU; assess the need to enhance the EU legal framework for soil; and step up actions towards delivering the commitment made by the EU and the Member States to achieve land degradation neutrality in the EU by 2030.