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Focus area: People-centered approach

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A people-centered approach: Greater equity and secure land rights are urgently needed to protect and restore our rapidly degrading land.

  • Drought, land degradation and desertification – all of which are becoming more frequent – are impacting women and girls first and worst. Local communities, indigenous peoples and vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, are often disproportionately affected.
  • Women produce half the world’s food yet own less than one-fifth of all land and make up 70 per cent of the world’s hungry. Governments must eliminate legal barriers to women and girls’ land ownership, ensure women can inherit land, and better involve women in land management, conservation, and restoration.
  • One billion young people live in developing countries, regions directly dependent on land and natural resources for sustenance. Global land restoration commitments can only be achieved with the involvement of youth who have the power to transform their communities.
  • As humanity is becoming increasingly urban, the vital connection to land is weakening. For many young people, living from and working on land is no longer an attractive option. Unlocking decent land-based jobs and business opportunities for youth is an investment in future land stewardship.
  • Often economically disadvantaged, indigenous peoples and local communities are amongst the richest when accounting for their natural capital. Areas managed by local communities are characterized by lower rates of deforestation and land degradation. It is crucial to preserve traditional and local knowledge and recognize its key role in land restoration.
  • At COP16, countries will come together to consolidate commitments and actions to secure land rights, promote social and intergenerational equity and ensure that those who depend on land the most are an integral part of decision-making.
More on the topic

Gender equality is vital to deliver sustainable, progressive, and meaningful action to avoid, reduce, and reverse land degradation. UNCCD’s goal is to make sure women and girls are empowered in the global efforts to achieve land degradation neutrality.​

Learn more