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Leaders Seeks Priorities For Women’s Land Rights on World Droughts Day

World leaders have called for better land rights for women and girls around the world as women are facing worsening droughts, raging wildfires, and other climate change impacts.

The call was made at an event to mark Desertification and Drought Day held at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, June 16, 2023, where drought, land degradation, and desertification which are becoming more frequent are impacting women and girls.

The theme of this year’s global observance, led by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), is “Her Land. Her Rights.”

Women make up around half of the agricultural workers in developing countries and produce 60-80 percent of food grown in these regions yet own less than one-fifth of all land worldwide. When land degrades and water and other resources become scarce, women and girls are exposed to poverty, hunger, displacement, and violence.

Among the leaders and gender equality champions advocating for women’s full land rights are the Prime Ministers of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir and of Namibia Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, and the Vice-President of the Government of Spain Teresa Ribero Rodríguez.

They were joined by Finland’s first female President Tarja Halonen, UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors and musicians Baaba Maal, Inna Modja, and Ricky Kej, as well as indigenous and youth activists from countries as diverse as Canada and Chad.

In a shared call to action, they said that when legal barriers to women owning and inheriting land are removed, women are able to make decisions on how to manage land, and both soil health and agricultural yields improve.
Women are also more likely to invest in their family’s nutrition, health, and education which benefits the whole of society.

UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, in his remark, said investing in women’s equal access to land is not just an act of justice.

According to him “It is an investment in our future, a commitment to the prosperity of our planet. It is an affirmation that we value not only the land beneath our feet but the hands that work it.”

To coincide with the event, UNCCD launched a new analysis, which shows that despite comprising nearly half the world’s agricultural workforce and producing up to 80 percent of food in developing countries, women’s rights to inherit their husband’s property continue to be denied in over 100 countries.

Discriminatory practices related to land tenure, credit access, equal pay, and decision-making often impede their active participation in sustaining land health. Today, less than one-in-five landholders worldwide are women.

If women had equal rights to land, agricultural production in the poorest regions would increase by up to 4 percent and malnourishment would decline by 12–17 percent, resulting in 150 million fewer hungry people globally.

Countries with more women parliamentarians prioritize women and girls’ roles in land protection and are more likely to ratify relevant treaties and set aside land for conservation. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the 881 national environment-related ministries run by elected officials are led by women.

The event builds on UNCCD’s “Her Land. Her Rights.” campaign, which was launched on International Women’s Day in March 2023.

Organized jointly by the UNCCD with UN Women, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Human Rights Office, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the high-level event “Her Land. Her Rights: Advancing Gender Equality and Land Restoration Goals” included debates and discussions on a woman’s role in sustainable land management.

A digital photo exhibition entitled “Her Land” created and curated by Inna Modja will offer an immersive experience of the daily realities facing women and girls living on the frontlines of desertification, land degradation, and drought. She was joined by fellow Goodwill Ambassadors, Baaba Maal, and Ricky Kej, in a live musical performance.

In addition to New York, other events to mark Desertification and Drought Day – which officially falls every year on June 17 – will take place in all parts of the world, including China, Fiji, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia, Türkiye, and Vietnam.


By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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