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Women play a key role in promoting sustainable land management. In developing countries in particular, women are engaged in land use, including food production and preparation, collection of fuelwood and provision of water, fodder, medicinal herbs and fruits and seeds. 

Nevertheless, women – particularly in rural areas – still lack secure access to land and are often disadvantaged due to entrenched gender-specific rights, roles and responsibilities, which can negatively impact their quality of life. This puts rural women at the center of vulnerable groups affected by land degradation, which makes gender-responsive Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) policies vital both at local and national levels.

Achieving LDN depends on transformative efforts to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation through gender-equitable measures. Many of the LDN targets and the Drought Initiative goals include the advancement of gender equality and improvement of women’s access to land. Gender mainstreaming is also linked to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals such as food security, improved health and nutrition, reduction of poverty and ecosystem restoration.

Building on the work launched by UN Women, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD and the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are advising governments how to integrate gender perspectives in the development of LDN initiatives. 

The following two documents provide guidance to Parties to design LDN TPP:

UN-Women in collaboration with IUCN and the Global Mechanism developed “A manual for gender responsive LDN TPP,”which is a hands-on guide to mainstreaming gender in LDN Transformative Projects and Programmes (TPP). Launched at COP14, the guide – based on workshop experiences – provides concrete, step-by-step guidance to parties in integrating gender issues and promoting gender equality in the design of transformative LDN projects. The manual is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

The second document, a briefing note on “LDN interventions to foster gender equality” highlights the need for gender-balanced participation in land and natural resource governance at the national and landscape levels as well as the necessity of strengthening the legal aspects of land rights for vulnerable groups including women. The briefing note highlights the importance of ensuring equal access, use and control over land, forests and other natural resources alongside closing the gender gap. These evidence-based interventions are key to ensuring that land-based initiatives do not perpetuate historical inequalities or marginalize women’s rights. 

Read more about the LDN Interventions to foster gender equality

Land degradation neutrality interventions to foster gender equality

Widespread land degradation threatens food production, water availability, biodiversity and energy security. When land is degraded and usable land becomes scarce, women are differently affected due to their substantial role in agriculture and food production, their reliance on forests, their greater vulnerability to poverty, and their typically weaker legal protections and social status. Across the world, rural women typically work longer hours than men when accounting for paid productive and unpaid reproductive, domestic or care responsibilities. They continue to shoulder most of the unpaid and undervalued work, such as collecting water, cooking, cleaning and caretaking, all while battling the impacts of climate change, unpredictable rainfall, natural disasters and non-yielding gardens.

This Briefing Note highlights the ways policymakers can integrate gender equality into efforts to prevent and mitigate land degradation. It showcases actions including: ensuring gender-equal participation in land governance; enforce legal protections for the land rights of women; ensure equal access to land, forests and natural resources; close the gender data gap in order to move towards evidence-based responses. 

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A manual for gender-responsive land degradation neutrality transformative projects and programmes

Climate- and human-induced land degradation endangers the future survival of our planet. A new focus on achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) seeks to spark and grow transformative efforts to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation through gender- and socially-equitable means. Many of the targets result in co-benefits for sustainable agriculture and food security, and link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that advance gender equality, increase women’s equal access to and control over land and natural resources, improve health and nutrition, reduce poverty, and restore ecosystems and climate change impacts.

This manual provides step-by-step guidance to Parties on integrating gender issues and promoting gender equality in the design of transformative LDN projects. It builds on work launched by UN Women, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in advising governments on integrating gender perspectives in the development of LDN initiatives, as mandated by the UNCCD Gender Action Plan (GAP), the Science Policy Interface LDN Conceptual Framework and related decisions adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

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