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About UNCCD Land Heroes The UNCCD Land Heroes campaign recognizes and supports young individuals and youth-led/based organizations making positive impacts against desertification, land degradation, and drought. Through online engagement, we raise awareness, share success stories, and empower youth as change agents in sustainable land management, engaging them in implementing the convention. Building on the success of the inaugural 2020 cohort, the second cohort of Land Heroes continues to inspire and mobilize youth to promote the UNCCD's objectives. About the Land Heroes campaign Part of the Land for Life Programme, #LandHeroes showcases youth's dedication to sustainable land management. These organizations and individuals share transformative journeys through social media, videos, blogs, and our dedicated website, amplifying their contributions and recognizing both young men and women as critical forces for positive change. Join us in celebrating these remarkable land champions. Objective The Land Heroes campaign aims to identify, celebrate, and support youth aged 18-35 engaged in sustainable land management, raising awareness of land's link to biodiversity and climate. By sharing stories, we inspire change, unite youth, provide mentorship, and showcase the transformative power of collective efforts. Campaign goals Raise awareness of land's connection to biodiversity and climate Spotlight diverse ways youth positively impact the land Share inspiring stories showcasing collective progress Empower youth to spread campaign messages and take action Provide mentorship in sustainable land management Share success stories to foster understanding and awareness Categories of Land Heroes Drought resilience: Early warning systems: Implementing proactive measures to anticipate and respond to drought conditions effectively. Mitigating the effects of drought: Innovative strategies for drought impact mitigation and ensure water availability. Adopting scalable and inclusive approaches: Promoting strategies that can be expanded to larger scales and inclusive of vulnerable populations to enhance drought resilience. Land restoration: Large-scale land restoration: Leadership in restoring degraded land on a large scale, contributing to ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation. Community-level land restoration: Impactful initiatives restoring degraded land at the community level, enhancing livelihoods and resilience. Inclusivity and equality: Gender equality and women's empowerment: Initiatives promoting gender equality in land ownership, decision-making, and conservation efforts Social equity: Initiatives promoting poverty eradication, social cohesion, etc. Indigenous knowledge: Amplifying indigenous knowledge and practices, recognizing their vital role in sustainable land management Science and innovation: Innovation: Innovative approaches in sustainable land management Technology: Harnessing technology for land monitoring, data analysis, and knowledge-sharing on sustainable practices Science and Research: Contributions to scientific research and evidence-based decision-making in land management Key features of Land Heroes Youth engagement (18-35) in addressing land challenges Role models inspiring peers through dedication Inspirational leadership mobilizing youth for collective responsibility Passionate and dedicated to combating desertification and degradation Vision for change: Clear understanding and innovative strategies Collaboration with stakeholders for effective partnerships Strong communication: Effective online presence to inspire action Benefits for Land Heroes Grant of US$1,000 for top finalists in each category Attendance at high-level UNCCD meetings Publicity and recognition through interviews, media, and social platforms Mentorship for leadership, communication, and project management Opportunities to support UNCCD through advocacy, workshops, and content creation Participation in challenges and innovation forums Coordination with other Land Heroes for workshops and collaborative projects Identification of Land Heroes Ten Land Heroes are selected over two years based on criteria aligned with categories. Timeline 15 August 2023: Launch call for submissions 15 October 2023: Submission deadline November 2023: Jury evaluation December 2023: Winner's announcement June 2024: Desertification and Drought Day December 2024: Participation at COP16 Apply now! Submission form Meet the current cohort: Land Heroes Follow Us on social media: Twitter X | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
24 July 2023 – HEALV3RSE,a groundbreaking new game promoting real-world action for the planet, launches today on Metaverse. HEALV3RSE, which brings together the worlds of gaming and sustainability, invites players to become the heroes our planet desperately needs. It takes players on an epic journey through captivating realms, each representing a vital element of our planet's wellbeing. From the fiery depths of the Fire Kingdom to the enchanting expanses of the Oceanic Realm, players will face challenges, solve puzzles, and embark on missions to heal the planet. As the players advance through the game, they discover facts about drylands and the challenges of desertification, making educated choices to restore these unique and vulnerable ecosystems by planting trees. What sets HEALV3RSE apart is the unique integration of player avatars actually performing healing actions within the game, such as planting trees, conducting ocean cleanups, or installing solar panels. This interactive feature, which the creators call ‘Play to Heal’, brings a sense of empowerment to the gameplay experience. The Game, which launches with an accompanying digital Avatar collection, was created by Code Green in support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). It was developed in partnership with The Sandbox and , designed in collaboration with Interactive Studio. "HEALV3RSE's innovative approach is a game-changer. By merging gaming with sustainability, it amplifies the urgency of combating land loss and inspires action. This aligns with UNCCD's goals and proves that everyone can contribute to the health of our planet in their own unique ways," - said Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary. "We are thrilled to present HEALV3RSE to the world," said Inna Modja, Code Green’s CEO and UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador. "Our goal is to inspire players to take action and make a positive impact on the planet. Through immersive gameplay and the captivating artworks, we aim to ignite a global movement of healers who understand the urgency of healing our Earth." The Sandbox said: ‘’The Sandbox is proud to announce its partnership with Code Green, a Web3 non-profit foundation supporting social, climate, and gender justice causes. Code Green’s origins go back to the worldʼs largest land restoration movement — Africa's Great Green Wall. ‘’ A portion of the proceeds from the digital avatar collection will be used to deliver free inspiration sessions with experts, activists and artists for anyone who wants to learn more about desertification, climate action and web3 technology. Those who support the new HEALV3RSE by purchasing special avatars will be also generating funds for one of the projects along the Great Green Wall — a game-changing African-led initiative to restore the continent’s degraded landscapes and transform millions of lives in the Sahel. HEALV3RSE is available to access via The Sandbox metaverse. Trailer for HEALV3RSE in The Sandbox For more information firstname.lastname@example.org About the UN Convention to Combat Desertification 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. Goodwill Ambassadors inspire the public and decision-makers to take practical actions and drive policies to achieve the Convention’s mission to promote sustainable land stewardship. They also help advance efforts to reduce poverty and promote gender equality, especially among climate-vulnerable, land-dependent populations About Code Green Code Green is a mission-driven web3 organization, harnessing the power of art and blockchain technology to spark a healing revolution for the planet. Inna Modja, CEO of Code Green, is a Malian actress, singer and environmental activist, and Goodwill Ambassador for the UNCCD. www.codegreen.earth @codegreen_nft About The Sandbox The Sandbox is a leading decentralized gaming platform where players can create, own, and monetize virtual worlds and gaming experiences. About Interactive Studio Interactive Studio offers comprehensive support to help brands establish themselves in the ever-changing world of Web3 and gaming.
From potatoes grown in recycled sacks to “more crop per drop” fruit tree varieties, climate-smart and women-led agriculture initiatives became the center of discussions at a recent interregional conference convened by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Fertile land is a precious commodity in Tajikistan, where 90% of the country's territory is covered by mountains and 60% of the population directly depend on agriculture for livelihood. Agriculture is a major part of Tajikistan’s economy. Can you spot the colors of one of its best-loved crops in the stripes of the national flag? As heatwaves, droughts and other extreme climate events become more frequent and severe across the globe, regional cooperation and knowledge sharing are becoming a priority in building drought resilience and fighting land degradation. In response to these growing challenges, representatives of Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan met in Dushanbe, Tajikistan from 1-2 July 2023 to discuss upscaling and coordinating legislative, educational, scientific and technical cooperation aimed at achieving Land Degradation Neutrality. Water is so precious in Central Asia, some say it’s worth more than gold. Burrowing deep into the soil, this well in the Gissar Valley carries water that contains trace amounts of the precious metal “Though we come from different climates and landscapes, we are united in the face of climate-induced drought and land degradation. Women who develop and test climate-smart and cost-effective solutions locally should be the ones spearheading regional and global efforts to grow and protect our food in the times of climactic stress,” participants stated. Reflecting the theme of this year's Desertification and Drought Day “Her Land. Her Rights”, discussions centered on the key role of civil society organizations, particularly those led by women, in harnessing donor financing and advancing legislative action in support of gender-responsive land restoration projects that provide sustainable rural livelihoods. Apples are the most popular fruit worldwide, and so are new ways to grow them more efficiently After attending a training series at the Youth Ecological Center in Dushanbe, Mavluda Akhmedova is using the technology of growing potatoes directly in recycled sacks on her homestead in the Dekhanabod village. This approach has proven particularly effective as more frequent and sudden heatwaves and droughts in Tajikistan raise the risk of harvest loss. Growing potatoes in sacks lets the farmers control the temperature and humidity better and is of particular use on small plots where growing space is at a premium. Greenhouses at the Agricultural University in Dushanbe use the latest technology, encouraging the students to test new approaches to efficient and sustainable crop production During a visit to an experimental farm in the Gissar District, participants learned how students from Agricultural University in Dushanbe test classroom knowledge to implement the “more crop per drop” approach on their 800 hectares under tillage, including a fruit orchard, a vineyard and pasture. Nothing tastes better than bread fresh from the oven! Farm-to-table is the way of life at the experimental farm of the Agricultural University of Dushanbe The university hopes that new investments and focus on research, smart tech and innovation will bring more female students to the classrooms and labs. Using compact varieties of fruit trees combined with drip irrigation means less water, less labour and less land are needed to produce comparable crop yields By the end of 2023, Tajikistan intends to complete the process of joining the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Target-setting programme, bringing the number of countries who set voluntary LDN targets to 130, including all Central Asian nations. Furthermore, participation in the World Bank’s RESILAND CA+ Initiative will allow Tajikistan to access the knowledge base of other engaged countries – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan – and train forest management and rangelands biodiversity specialists. Women are expected to become the majority of RESILAND CA+ projects’ participants and beneficiaries. Photography by Didor Sadulloev via UNDP Tajikistan
From women's soccer game in Chad to a solo marathon across the barren Aral Sea, and from tree planting to children's gardening competitions, this year's Desertification and Drought Day was marked with boundless creativity and impactful actions around the globe. Across continents, people everywhere found engaging ways to unite their communities and support “Her Land. Her Rights”. Close to 50 countries—from Argentina to Azerbaijan and from France to Fiji—reported dozens of events to mark this year's Day. Below are just a few that piqued our interest: A football match between N'Djaména's two leading women's teams in Chad – as one of the nation’s Indigenous leaders Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim reminds us, “Without women, there cannot be a winning team in the fight against desertification” The village of Nawailevu in Bua Province of Fiji invited visitors to share the first harvest from a model farm created on a former bauxite mining site to cultivate fruit, greens and root vegetables with the inclusion of agroforestry. Highlighting women’s land privileges as the foundation of household harmony and national development, the event also invited schoolkids attending the field day to take part in the Fiji Backyard Gardening Competition The screening of the film about pioneers of cross-country sand skiing from France who embarked on a sporting epic to test solutions to drought resilience and climate adaptation by learning from the peoples of the desert A native tree planting in the remote desert village of Gomawali in Rajastan, India, where women of the community take the lead in land restoration as part of the Familial Forestry Initiative launched by our Land for Life Award laureate Shyam Sunder Jyani A village-wide dialogue in Kitui County, Kenya that included a survey on the participation of women in sustainable land management and resource conservation under various land tenure systems, a display of water-harvesting technologies, an inventory of drought-tolerant crop varieties and community donations of water-harvesting devices, drought resilient plants and farm animals A female farmers' expo at the City Park in In Skopje, North Macedonia, that featured female heroes working in sustainable agriculture and showcased their products, with discussions on sustainable farming methods and distribution of free seeds and seedlings. A social media challenge #thislandismyland launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in Saint Lucia, inviting the public to identify different landscapes and soil types in their communities, showing the ones most affected by the effects of desertification. Content creators who received the most likes were asked to Interview farmers and landowners and explain the negative impacts of desertification on their livelihoods A lone runner from Uzbekistan who made a 42-mile trek across the dried-up bottom of the Aral Sea to attract the attention to the environmental problems of the region and inspire everyone to take on an active role in addressing them UNCCD Land Heroes have also been actively reaching out to their local and global communities: Musa Ibrahim participated in the Nigerian national dialogue on desertification while Patricia Kombo actively promoted #HerLand campaign on her social media channels, and Kehkashan Basu took to the UN General Assembly stage together with other LandSHEroes, issuing an urgent call to action to advance women’s land rights. Every action and every voice counts! Visit our website to discover events that took place around the world this Desertification and Drought Day and get creative planning the next one together with youр community!
United Nations General Assembly event to mark Desertification and Drought Day brings together leaders to advance gender equality and land restoration goals. New York, 17 June 202 – Women leaders from around the world took centre stage at the United Nations General Assembly calling for women’s land rights at a music-filled event to mark Desertification and Drought Day. Speakers from countries as diverse as Canada to Chad, Iceland to Lesotho, shared their experiences and explained how droughts, land degradation and desertification are disproportionately impacting the women and girls in their communities. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said: “We depend on land for our survival. Yet, we treat it like dirt.” He blamed unsustainable farming for eroding soil 100 times faster than natural processes can restore them and said 40% of land is now degraded. Speaking passionately about the generations of farmers in his family, Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, said: “The data could not be clearer. When women farmers have access to own land, they grow more and so do their children and nations. Together, these positive shifts in women’s empowerment have a ripple effect on income, and children’s welfare.” United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said: “On this Desertification and Drought Day, our message is simple: we must finally recognize and value women as owners, managers of our lands and of our resources, and we must invest in the fight against climate change. Women make up the majority of rural farmers, but less than 15% of agricultural landholders are women, and their right to inherit property continues to be denied under customary and traditional laws in over 100 countries.” UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador, Malian artist and singer Inna Modja, was joined onstage by her daughter Valentina Conti, aged three, to read out a powerful call to action, urging world leaders to remove the legal barriers that prevent women owning and inheriting land. Together with fellow UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors, Senegalese musician and singer Baaba Maal and Indian producer and singer Ricky Kej, Ms Modja performed a new song ‘Her Land’. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an Indigenous leader from Chad, delivered a stark warning: “Despite our innovation, despite the determination of the women of my community to preserve ecosystems to block the desert, despite our collective efforts to save and share water, our land is dying.” She said women are calling on CEOs, ministers, presidents, and philanthropists to “stop pledging and start putting cash on the table to help us win the most important battle of our life”. Less than a third of all UN Member States have ever had a female Head of State or Government. Several of them participated in the high-level event in New York in person or virtually. Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland and UNCCD Land Ambassador, said: “Achieving land degradation neutrality requires everyone’s efforts. And women and girls are half of the world’s population. Empowering women and girls is one of the most impactful things that we can do to achieve environmental sustainability and the health of the land.” The first-ever female Prime Minister of Namibia, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, spoke about what Namibia is doing to go above and beyond on women’s land rights. And there were also video messages from the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Vice-President of Spain Teresa Riberа Rodríguez. Sonia Guajajara, Brazil’s first-ever Minister of Indigenous Peoples, delivered an impassioned plea in support of Indigenous women leaders in her country. Jennifer Littlejohn, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, represented the United States, highlighting its government’s commitment to gender equity and equality. The event was jointly organized by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), UN-Women, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Human Rights and the UN Development Programme to mark the annual Desertification and Drought Day, which falls on June 17th. UN-Women Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous said: “For many people around the world, land represents power and identity. Women’s control over land is therefore fundamental to the achievement of gender equality and also the economic independence of women… We must break down barriers to women’s rights to land.” UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “Investing in women's equal access to land is not just an act of justice. 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 on it.” Other speakers advocating for women’s land rights were: Alain-Richard Donwahi, President of UNCCD’s 15th Conference of the Parties, Côte d’Ivoire, Kehkashan Basu, a climate activist and UN Human Rights Champion based in Canada; Rex Molapo, Co-Founder of Conservation Music Lesotho; and Solange Bandiaky-Badji, Coordinator of the Rights and Resources Initiative. ENDS Notes to editors For interviews or media enquiries, please email email@example.com For hi-res photos of the event please visit: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1KjnA5jC1apDJEldPWGuujPsAWnhLINo-?usp=sharing To watch a recording of the event please visit: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1i/k1ix8i8j1z ‘Her Land. Her Rights’ policy brief is available here: https://www.unccd.int/resources/brief/her-land-her-rights-advancing-gender-equality-restore-land-and-build-resilience Her Land Call to Action is available here. 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. Photo: UNDP/Tom Pietrasik
Bonn/New York, 16 June 2023 – Women facing worsening droughts, raging wildfires and other climate change impacts will deliver an urgent message to the international community at the United Nations in New York, calling for better land rights for women and girls everywhere. Drought, land degradation and desertification – all of which are becoming more frequent – are impacting women and girls first and worst, world leaders will hear at an event in the United Nations General Assembly on 16th June to mark Desertification and Drought Day. 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 agricultural workers in developing countries and produce 60-80 per cent 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 will be 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 will be 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 will show there is a solution: women. They will say 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 said: “Investing in women's equal access to land is not just an act of justice. 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 is launching a new analysis, which shows: Despite comprising nearly half the world's agricultural workforce and producing up to 80 per cent 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 per cent and malnourishment would decline by 12–17 per cent, resulting in 150m fewer hungry people globally. Countries with more women parliamentarians prioritize women and girls’ role in land protection and are more likely to ratify relevant treaties and set aside land for conservation. Meanwhile, only 12 per cent of the 881 national environment-related ministries run by elected officials are led by women. The event will continue to build 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 Organization 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” will include 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 will also be 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 17th – will take place in all parts of the world, including China, Fiji, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia, Türkiye, and Vietnam. ENDS Notes to editors For interviews and enquires please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com 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.