This block type should be used in "unccd one column" section with "Full width" option enabled

Keywords

Filter by

Date

Year

UNCCD joins the United Nations Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth

Kigali, Rwanda, 24 May 2024. On the occasion of the Global conference on decent jobs for youth, the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) joins the United Nations Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, committing to fostering youth engagement in the implementation of the Convention. “UNCCD strives to realize a future where youth and youth organizations have a strong voice in decision-making on land use, and are recognized as vital actors in combatting desertification, land degradation and drought. With this commitment, UNCCD aims to create a new generation of “landpreneurs” inspired to build a more equitable and sustainable future based on meaningful jobs and careers that restore a healthy relationship with nature,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), involving youth in transforming food systems and land restoration activities can contribute to the creation of the estimated 600 million jobs required over the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs.[1] Decent Jobs for Youth was launched in 2016 as a joint effort of the United Nations system to address the youth employment challenge, which is a central element of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a global multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together governments, social partners, the private sector, youth, and civil society organizations, among others. The UNCCD commitment will foster participation and partnerships, capacity building and networking to empower them to pursue meaningful and sustainable careers in sustainable land and water management. The first opportunity to do so will be this year’s Desertification and Drought Day, 17 June 2024, which focuses on intergenerational land stewardship under the theme of “United for Land. Our Legacy. Our Future.” The event will also mark the launch of the first UNCCD Youth Engagement Strategy, emphasizing the importance of youth voices at the negotiating table. About UNCCD  The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner. https://www.unccd.int/   For more information, please contact: Media office: press@unccd.int Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, ILO | decentjobsforyouth@ilo.org   [1] International Labour Organization. 2022. Investing in Transforming Futures for Young People X Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022.

UNCCD joins the United Nations Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth
Her Land Anthem released by Goodwill Ambassadors Inna Modja and Ricky Kej

On 17 May, one month before the Desertification and Drought Day 2024, UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors Ricky Kej and Inna Modja released the new Her Land anthem to support land rights for women across the world. They are among the key activists and influencers that work with UNCCD to spearhead the campaign #HerLand and mobilize support to secure land rights for women and girls across the world. When land is degraded women and girls are impacted first and most. They are disproportionately affected by poverty, hunger, displacement and violence. And they have minimal control over land itself or decisions about how to manage it. Although women produce half the world’s food, they own less than one-fifth of land worldwide and make up the majority of the world’s hungry.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. When land rights are secured, we have seen women and girls increase yields, restore land, and build resilience to drought. Listen to the song, get inspired and join our call to action for Her Land, Her Rights!  

Her Land Anthem released by Goodwill Ambassadors Inna Modja and Ricky Kej
Land rights: The key to sustainable prosperity

Imagine a world where every farmer, indigenous community and local group has the power to improve their land and their lives. It's not just a dream. By securing land tenure – the right to use, control and transfer land – we can unlock sustainable development on a global scale. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are working together to make this vision a reality. Land tenure determines how people connect with the land. Worldwide, 2.5 billion people depend on communally managed territories, which often lack legal protection. This vulnerability undermines sustainability, escalates conflicts and damages the environment. Although more than 50 per cent of communal lands are used by indigenous peoples and local communities, only 10 per cent are legally recognised. These challenges led to the launch of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) in 2012. A blueprint for fairness, the VGGT ensure that everyone – regardless of gender or social status – receives the same land rights. Incorporating principles of equity, transparency and sustainability into land governance is critical to creating secure and productive communities. These principles are not just theoretical; they are being successfully applied around the world, with transformative results. In Eritrea, the Serejeka sub-zone, part of the Great Green Wall initiative, introduced a new land tenure system called "xlmi" across 28 villages. This new system, which allows landholdings to be inherited as family property, replaced the previous seven-year lease system with redistribution among smallholders. The change has led to clear environmental and social benefits. It has significantly reduced deforestation and land conflicts, and provided farmers with secure, long-term benefits. This security has undoubtedly encouraged greater investment in sustainable land management practices, boosting household income. In the Senegal River Basin, a concerted effort to improve land governance has facilitated better management of vast agricultural resources, boosting food security and economic stability across the region. In Colombia, the government has launched a land regularisation programme with indigenous communities, employing the "Open Tenure" tool under the VGGT. This tool maps legitimate tenure rights, supporting a transparent process that helps stakeholders record and protect their rights. The programme also promotes joint land ownership for spouses, aiming to combat discriminatory inheritance practices. In many rural areas, land tenure security acts as a vital safety net for the poor, buffering them against uncertainties and securing their livelihoods. This security is more than just a piece of paper; it ensures that smallholder farmers can produce food and reduce poverty and inequality within their communities. The process of securing land rights – through formal recognition, proper documentation and robust dispute resolution – is critical not only to the well-being of farmers, but also to the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices. The challenge, however, is that in many developing countries land is often held under informal or undocumented arrangements. Simply formalising these arrangements doesn't automatically lead to true security and can even lead to 'elite capture', where only a few reap the benefits. The genuine recognition and enforcement of legitimate land rights – including access, use, management and ownership – is essential. This not only increases agricultural productivity, but also strengthens the rights and livelihoods of the most vulnerable, paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future for rural communities. A major challenge in this area is the significant gender disparity in land governance, management and benefit-sharing, even under customary or informal tenure arrangements. Although women make up nearly half of the world's agricultural workforce, they own less than 20 per cent of the world's land. It is clear that investing in women's equal access to land and related assets is a direct investment in their future and the future of humanity. When women have secure land rights, they are more likely to invest in the land and participate actively in community life, leading to better outcomes for families and societies. When women's tenure security is improved, household spending on food and education increases by up to 30 per cent. The UNCCD and FAO are committed to continuing these efforts through national consultations and inclusive policy-making. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders, they aim to tailor land tenure reforms to local needs and open up new opportunities for cooperation and financing. These efforts will eventually reach more than 30 countries o have who have requested support on integrating secure tenure into their Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) programmes and restoration activities. Securing land rights and advocating for inclusive governance is a powerful tool for change. By protecting ecosystems and empowering millions of people around the world to have a say on how land and associated resources are managed, we are advancing multiple sustainable development objectives.

Land rights: The key to sustainable prosperity
UNCCD Executive Secretary visit to Mauritania: A focus on desertification and cooperation

Mr Ibrahim Thiaw, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), paid a three-day visit to Mauritania from 15 to 17 April. This strategic visit coincides with Mauritania's current role as Chair of the African Union and sets the stage for the upcoming 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, later this year. During his stay, Mr Thiaw  held high-level talks with the Mauritanian authorities, focusing on strengthening cooperation between Mauritania and the UNCCD. These discussions are particularly important as they come at a time when Mauritania is not only leading the African Union, but also facing serious environmental challenges that are at the forefront of the international sustainable development agenda. Mauritania is facing severe environmental degradation, with 1.28 million of its total population of 4.3 million exposed to land degradation, covering 60 per cent of its total land area. The country has been severely affected by recurrent droughts since the late 1960s, making desertification control a national priority and a key concern of successive governments.  In 2021, Mauritania experienced the most severe drought in its history, resulting in 20 per cent of the population facing acute food insecurity. This  degradation has not only led to physical and economic impacts, but has also increased social vulnerability, particularly among low-income households and women who rely heavily on natural resources for their livelihoods. “Mauritania is a country severely affected by desertification, and it is crucial to rethink the country's development policies in the light of climate change. This includes adopting new and renewable energy sources, formulating more appropriate agricultural and fisheries policies, combating drought and implementing environmental programmes adapted to these arid conditions. The development of a tailor-made strategy is essential, with Mauritania charting its own course to address these complex issues”, said Ibrahim Thiaw. Mauritania is one of 22 countries participating in the Great Green Wall initiative. This ambitious project aims to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create 10 million green jobs by 2030. Through this initiative, Mauritania is seeking both environmental and economic benefits, demonstrating its commitment to both local and global sustainability efforts After ratifying the UNCCD in June 2001, Mauritania launched the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification (PAN-LCD), which takes an integrated, participatory approach. This plan has been instrumental in integrating poverty reduction into desertification control programmes, working with grassroots communities, local authorities and non-governmental organisations.  

UNCCD Executive Secretary visit to Mauritania: A focus on desertification and cooperation
Business4Land: Mobilizing private sector to reverse land degradation 

The conversion of land for agriculture to meet the demands for food, feed, fibre and bioenergy production is the leading driver of land-use change, with up to 40% of the world’s land already degraded. The global economy is projected to lose USD 23 trillion by 2050 to land degradation, desertification and drought.   Transforming our production and consumption patterns has enormous potential to reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss, as well as mitigate climate change. The economic benefits of land restoration are huge: half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature, and every dollar invested in restoration generates up to USD 30 in benefits.   Despite its importance to economic activity, Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land is one of the least financed SDGs. The private sector can play a critical role in achieving the goal to restore 1.5 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030. It can facilitate investments and technology for sustainable production as catalysts for a transition to sustainable land use and promote the expansion of value chains for sustainable consumption for healthy lands and people.   UNCCD made its mark at the Change Now Conference held from 25 to 27 March at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris by bringing together innovators and investors from the private sector to find solutions that have the power to reverse and halt current land degradation trends.  The Business4Land strategy, presented by UNCCD during the World Economic Forum 2024 in Davos, seeks to mobilize the power of the private sector to advance Land Degradation Neutrality by enabling transition from our current extractive and extensive land-use models towards sustainable land management.  At the Paris meeting, UNCCD launched discussions on innovative financing models, highlighting the role of private sector investments in land restoration projects and productivity enhancement business models. Highlighting the potential for carbon sequestration and natural-based solutions, the Convention showcased the economic viability of sustainable land-based projects to encourage entrepreneurs to seize untapped opportunities.   Inspired by the spirit of Gustave Eiffel who made possible what seemed impossible in his time, UNCCD invites the private sector to join the Business4Land initiative as a vehicle to leave a healthy legacy to future generations on our planet. —UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Andrea Meza During the Pioneers Dinner at the Eiffel Tower The Business4Land initiative unites private sector leaders to improve business practices, contribute to sustainable financing tools, explore leveraging mobile new technologies and best practices to support further land restoration investments. Companies are invited to join the Business4Land initiative and define voluntary actions and announce them at UNCCD COP16 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2024.   To join the Business4Land initiative, visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B4L For more information, please contact: b4l@unccd,int 

Business4Land: Mobilizing private sector to reverse land degradation 
Shea transformation: Sowing the seeds of sustainability in the Sahel 

In the Houet Province of central Burkina Faso, 43-year-old Sanou Fatimata is a key figure in the Song Taab Yalgre Association, a shea cooperative bringing together some 500 women. With more than three decades of experience in the shea industry, Fatimata seamlessly blends traditional methods with modern, eco-friendly practices, enhancing her community's cultural heritage and future sustainability. Fatimata's group is a member of the Global Shea Alliance, an industry association established in 2011.  As part of its efforts towards sustainability, the GSA supports women’s cooperatives to build their income generating capacity and more importantly their resilience.  For women’s cooperatives like Song Taab Yalgre, the shea tree, known as ‘shi yiri’ meaning 'life' in the Dioula language, serves as a cornerstone in enhancing livelihoods. Co-op members harvest shea fruit Its kernels, which are processed into shea butter used in cooking, medicine and cosmetics, are an important source of income in the wider Sahel region. Traditionally, women like Fatimata process shea kernels by hand. This involves gathering the kernels from shea parklands, transporting them back home to boil and dry and then manually crush and mill them. The kernels are then hand-kneaded to extract the oil, which in turn is heated and boiled to produce the final product, shea butter. Much of the shea butter is consumed at home but can also be sold locally or internationally, bringing income into the household. Many women also choose to sell the boiled and dried kernels directly to buyers, most of which end up in food or cosmetic products around the world. This is also another great income-generating activity especially if women are working together as a cooperative, where they can sell quantity at a negotiated price. Traditional methods blend with eco-friendly practices for sustainable production In recent years, there has been a significant decline in the number of shea trees, with approximately 8 million shea trees lost each year. This decline is attributed to various factors, including tree cutting for mechanized agriculture and fuelwood, as well as limited replanting due to cultural factors and the lengthy growth period of shea trees. This decrease in the shea tree population impacts rural economic development and women's empowerment. The availability of shea is at risk to respond to growing demand. Shea communities are at the same time disproportionately impacted by climate change, with extreme temperatures and climate events changing the landscape and impacting agricultural yields. Providing comprehensive training in sustainable shea tree management with an enhanced emphasis on conservation can ensure the long-term availability of shea resources, benefiting not only current collectors but generations to come.  Fatimata's group is a member of the Global Shea Alliance In early 2024, the GSA launched the "Reversing Land Degradation in Shea Communities” project in Mali and Burkina Faso, funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation through the UNCCD. The project focuses on land restoration and livelihood enhancement through regenerative shea agroforestry to increase shea-related incomes. The project aims to improve the income and nutrition of 2,500 women shea collectors and restore 150 ha of farmland and community land through agroforestry practices and shea tree planting. The women also plan to diversify their activities beyond production of shea butter to include crops such as moringa, baobab and fonio. To help with these activities, the project will provide access to water, through boreholes installation, and tricycles will be provided for greater efficiency. “The project activities will have a great impact on the community. The borehole will benefit both the cooperative and the community and will allow us to grow crops during the off-season. The vegetable and fonio harvests will be partly for consumption and partly for the local market, which will increase our financial income. We'll also be able to sell the baobab and moringa when they are ripe. I'm looking forward to the implementation of the activities and I'm committed to the success of the project," says Somda Leocadie, a member of one of the women's cooperatives in Burkina Faso. Despite challenges such as increasingly harsh weather conditions and market fluctuations, the cooperatives, including Fatimata's association, show remarkable resilience, strengthened by ongoing training in sustainable agriculture and financial management. Together, they envision their communities as models of sustainable growth and a brighter future for the Sahel. Photos: ULPKS – YIRIWASSO Cooperative.    

Shea transformation: Sowing the seeds of sustainability in the Sahel