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Desertification and Drought Day 2023 – Her Land, Her Rights 

Bonn/New York, 18 May 2023 – This year’s Desertification and Drought Day, marked on 17 June, will put the global spotlight on women’s land rights with events taking place in New York and around the world.  The global observance event, titled “Her Land. Her Rights: Advancing Gender Equality and Land Restoration Goals” will take place at the United Nations Headquarters’ General Assembly Hall on Friday, 16 June 2023.   The event will be opened by the President of the 77th General Assembly, and will convene high-level policymakers, women leaders, renowned scientists, land activists, and youth representatives from around the world to discuss policies and actions needed to advance women’s land rights and promote stronger female leadership and decision-making power in sustainable land management.    UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “Of all the gender inequalities we experience in the world, the imbalance in women’s access to fertile land remains arguably the most shocking. In every corner of the world, filling this particular gender gap remains an unfinished business. That’s why on this year’s Desertification and Drought Day we are mobilizing the international community in support of women’s land rights.”  Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland and UNCCD Land Ambassador, who is among women leaders attending the high-level event, said: “Solving gender inequalities is not just the right thing to do. If we ensure that women are fully able to use their abilities, knowledge, talents, and leadership potential, our societies are simply better off.”  Inna Modja, Malian singer and UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador, who will be performing at the high-level event, said: “As a woman, artist, and climate and social justice activist, I believe it’s vital to empower women and youth and promote gender equality in the fight against desertification and land degradation. Together, we can create a brighter, sustainable future.”  In addition to the global observance event in New York, events to mark Desertification and Drought Day 2023 will be taking place in all parts of the world, including Fiji, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia and Vietnam.  Ahead of this year’s Desertification and Drought Day, UNCCD launched #HerLand, a public-awareness campaign to promote successful examples of women and girls’ contributions to sustainable land management, and mobilize support to advance land rights for women and girls around the world.   Women, who comprise nearly half of the world's agricultural workforce hold a vital stake in the health of the land and suffer most when land is degraded. Yet, 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.  This represents a missed opportunity: when they are given equal access to land, women and girls can increase agricultural productivity, restore land and build resilience to drought. Women invest more in nutrition, health and education which benefits their families, and wider society.  ###  Confirmed details  Event title  Her Land. Her Rights. Advancing Gender Equality and Land Restoration Goals  High-level event to mark Desertification and Drought Day 2023  Venue  General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York UN WebTV webcast link: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1i/k1ix8i8j1z Dates and time  Friday, 16 June 2023  10:00 hrs –13:00 hrs (EDT) / 14:00 hrs- 17:00 hrs (GMT/UTC) / 15:00 hrs– 18:00 hrs BST/ 16:00 hrs – 19:00 hrs (CEST)  Speakers  Organized jointly by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), UN Women, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN Human Rights Office, the high-level event will focus on policies and actions needed to advance women’s land rights and role sustainable land management.   Notable speakers are expected to be in attendance, including:   Csaba Kőrösi, President of the General Assembly  António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations (via recorded video message)  Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General  Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland and UNCCD Land Ambassador  Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director, UN Women  Alain-Richard Donwahi, UNCCD COP15 President  Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association des Femmes Peuples Autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT)   Rex Molapo, Co-founder, Conservation Music, Lesotho   The programme of the high-level event will feature musical performances by UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors, Malian singer, and artist Inna Modja who executive-produced the Great Green Wall documentary, and Senegalese musician Baaba Maal who composed music for the latest instalment of Marvel’s film Black Panther, as well as Ricky Kej, 3 times Grammy Award-winner, Indian Composer.   It will also offer an immersive experience, including the launch of a metaverse game demo and a photo exhibition entitled Her Land.  Notes to Editors  For preview interviews and media related inquires please contact: UNCCD Press Office: press@unccd.int and Portland Communications: unccd@portland-communications.com Journalists wishing to cover the event who don’t hold valid press accreditation for the United Nations Headquarters in New York need to be registered, and should email: press@unccd.int and unccd@portland-communications.com. A copy of your valid press card and passport will be required to pick up your access badge.  Video and multimedia assets   Video and multimedia assets from the event will be made available immediately afterwards.  Existing videos and assets from Her Land Campaign –  https://trello.com/b/AuQjCPfN/unccd-herland-campaign. Credit: UNCCD  Human interest stories showcasing vital contribution of women to sustainable land management will be available nearer the time.  Social Media  Twitter: @UNCCD  Instagram: @unccd  Hashtags: #HerLand #UNited4Land  Download relevant social media assets here: https://trello.com/b/AuQjCPfN/unccd-herland-campaign  Learn more about the campaign: https://www.unccd.int/land-and-life/gender/herland  For information about Desertification and Drought Day visit: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day/2023  For information about Desertification and Drought Day 2023 events in New York and around the world visit: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day/2023/events-around-world   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. 

Desertification and Drought Day 2023 – Her Land, Her Rights 
UNCCD survey on midterm evaluation, the SPI review and the Gender Action Plan

FRANÇAIS | ESPAÑOL | РУССКИЙ The UNCCD is currently undertaking three parallel assessments: An independent assessment of the UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework A review of the UNCCD Science Policy Interface  An evaluation of the UNCCD Gender Action Plan  The assessments will review progress made, identify successes, challenges and key lessons that have arisen, then develop recommendations to improve performance.  We've approached you due to your involvement with the UNCCD or related processes. We would like to hear your views on the Strategic Framework, Science Policy Interface and Gender Action Plan, and would be grateful if you could complete the following survey, which should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. Your responses will be confidential and will not be used in a manner that would allow identification of individuals. The survey will be open until Sunday 4th June 2023: https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90565464/UNCCD-evaluation-surveys Thank you for your participation! FRANÇAIS La Convention des Nations unies sur la lutte contre la désertification (CNULD) entreprend actuellement trois évaluations parallèles : Une évaluation indépendante du cadre stratégique 2018-2030 de la CCD Examen de l'interface de la politique scientifique de la CCD  Évaluation du plan d'action de la CCD en faveur de l'égalité des sexes  Les évaluations examineront les progrès réalisés, identifieront les succès, les défis et les principaux enseignements qui ont été tirés, puis élaboreront des recommandations pour améliorer les performances.  Nous avons pris contact avec vous en raison de votre participation à la CNULD ou à des processus connexes. Nous aimerions connaître votre avis sur le cadre stratégique, l'interface de la politique scientifique et le plan d'action pour l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes, et vous serions reconnaissants de bien vouloir répondre à l'enquête suivante, qui ne devrait pas prendre plus de 30 minutes. Vos réponses seront confidentielles et ne seront pas utilisées de manière à permettre l'identification des personnes. L'enquête sera ouverte jusqu'au dimanche 4th juin 2023: https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90565464/UNCCD-evaluation-surveys Merci d'avance pour votre participation ! ESPAÑOL La CNULD está realizando actualmente tres evaluaciones paralelas: Una evaluación independiente del Marco Estratégico de la CNULD 2018-2030 Una revisión de la interfaz de política científica de la CNULD  Evaluación del Plan de Acción de Género de la CNULD  Las evaluaciones examinarán los progresos realizados, identificarán los éxitos, los retos y las lecciones clave que hayan surgido y, a continuación, elaborarán recomendaciones para mejorar los resultados.  Nos hemos puesto en contacto con usted debido a su implicación en la CNULD o en procesos relacionados. Nos gustaría conocer su opinión sobre el Marco Estratégico, la Interfaz de Política Científica y el Plan de Acción de Género, y le agradeceríamos que rellenara la siguiente encuesta, que no le llevará más de 30 minutos. Sus respuestas serán confidenciales y no se utilizarán de manera que permita la identificación de personas. La encuesta estará abierta hasta el domingo 4 de junio de 2023: https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90565464/UNCCD-evaluation-surveys Muchas gracias por su participación! РУССКИЙ В настоящее время КБОООН проводит три параллельные оценки: Независимая оценка Стратегических рамок КБОООН на 2018-2030 гг. Обзор интерфейса научной политики КБОООН  Оценка Плана действий КБОООН по гендерным вопросам  В ходе оценок будет проведен обзор достигнутого прогресса, определены успехи, проблемы и основные уроки, которые возникли, а затем разработаны рекомендации по улучшению работы.  Мы обратились к вам в связи с вашим участием в КБО ООН или связанных с ней процессах. Мы хотели бы узнать ваше мнение о Стратегической структуре, взаимодействии научной политики и Плане действий по гендерным вопросам и будем благодарны, если вы сможете заполнить следующий опросник, который займет не более 30 минут. Ваши ответы будут конфиденциальными и не будут использоваться таким образом, чтобы можно было идентифицировать личность. Опрос будет открыт до воскресенья 4 июня 2023 года: https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90565464/UNCCD-evaluation-surveys Благодарим за участие!

UNCCD survey on midterm evaluation, the SPI review and the Gender Action Plan
UNCCD welcomes Switzerland’s new contribution to sustainable land management

French  |  German Bern, Switzerland, 10 May 2023 – Today, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) signed a new voluntary contribution agreement for 2023-2024. Switzerland has committed 400,000 Swiss Francs to further support sustainable land management and ensure that all stakeholders, especially those representing the most vulnerable populations, can be fully involved in global decision-making on land and drought issues. Welcoming the agreement, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “I commend Switzerland for its leadership and commitment to UNCCD’s efforts to ensure a sustainable future for our land. Switzerland’s generous support will be vital to improve land tenure systems and invest in solutions that put people—especially the most vulnerable—first.” During the signing ceremony, Ms. Patricia Danzi, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation said: “Soil is the foundation on which is based our food security and livelihoods. We are happy to collaborate with the UNCCD for global sustainable land management contributing to resilient food systems.” UNCCD was set up in 1994 in response to the global challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought and is one of the three global Conventions that emerged from the Rio Earth Summit, alongside climate and biodiversity treaties. UNCCD works with its 197 signatories to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030, a global target enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals. Up to 40 per cent of land worldwide is currently degraded, with dire consequences for our climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. Droughts are up 29 per cent since 2000, driven by both climate change and land degradation. One of the key areas of the new agreement is to support women’s involvement in land management, advancing legitimate and secure land tenure for all, and collecting gender-disaggregated data on the impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought. Women’s land rights is the focus of the 2023 Desertification and Drought Day marked worldwide on 17 June under the slogan “Her Land. Her Rights.” “Women are major actors in the global efforts to reduce and reverse land degradation. However, in the vast majority of countries, women have unequal and limited access to and control over land. We cannot achieve land degradation neutrality without gender equality, and we cannot exclude half the population from land management decisions because of their gender," UNCCD Executive Secretary Thiaw added. Switzerland joined UNCCD in 1996 and since then has provided long-standing support to UNCCD through core funding and voluntary contributions. For example, Switzerland’s support was essential to ensure the participation of least developed countries and civil society organizations (CSOs) during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UNCCD held in 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The new agreement will support the implementation of the decisions adopted at the Conference and ensure a diversity of voices in future negotiations under the Convention. In addition, it will reinforce the synergies among the three Rio Conventions, including through nature-based solutions and target-setting at the national level for a more resilient, sustainable future for all. For more information, contact: UNCCD: Ms. Xenya Scanlon Chief, Communications, External Relations and Partnerships T: +49 152 5454 0492 E: press@unccd.int Notes to Editors The contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for 2023-2024 has four objectives: helping advance the policy work of the Secretariat, in particular with regards to land tenure; fostering land-based opportunities through the CSO Panel; ensuring that technologies and information on sustainable land management practices are in line with the UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework, also with regards to drought and gender; and facilitating the participation of vulnerable groups at UNCCD meetings and processes —this includes least developed country parties, CSOs, women, youth and indigenous peoples’ groups. 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 to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.  

UNCCD welcomes Switzerland’s new contribution to sustainable land management
Southern Africa eyes Great Green Wall-inspired initiative

All 16 countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have committed to accelerating multi-sectoral transformation through a regional initiative inspired by the Great Green Wall in the Sahel, or SADC Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI).  The SADC Initiative aims to create productive landscapes in the Southern Africa region that contribute to regional socially inclusive economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. Together with countries and key partners the goal is to initiate multisectoral partnerships and to acquire pledges of an indicative US$ 27 billion by 2025. In a leap forward in the implementation of the SADC GGWI, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), its Global Mechanism and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Commonwealth Secretariat brought together more than 50 key regional and international partners in Cape Town, South Africa in March 2023. The partners worked together to identify concrete next steps and recommendations to mobilize financing and coordinate action on the ground. Building on the momentum, the World Bank together with the SADC Secretariat, the UNCCD, the AUC, AUDA-NEPAD and the Commonwealth Secretariat convened the SADC Ministers of Finance on 12 April 2023, during the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC. The SADC Ministers of Finance welcomed the progress made to date on the SADC GGWI and highlighted the importance of the initiative to address the challenges facing the region. They also stressed the need for an economic analysis of the cost of inaction and ‘business as usual’.  Covering a total land area of 10 million km2, Southern Africa faces immediate effects of desertification, land degradation and drought, as well as challenges driven by climate change, biodiversity loss, and unsustainable development practices in agriculture, energy and infrastructure sectors. In his welcome remarks, Floribert Ngaruko, World Bank Group Executive Director Africa Group 1, said the Spring Meetings were identified as a critical gathering to engage and discuss the SADC Great Green Wall Initiative, noting it demonstrates Member States’ commitments toward deeper regional integration as articulated by the SADC Treaty, SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and other regional policies and strategies. “Our collective efforts should help us achieve a green and resilient future for the SADC region,” stated H.E. Elias M. Magosi, SADC Executive Secretary. He further reiterated the need for capacity building for resource mobilization, as well as for the implementation of the Initiative across the 16 SADC nations. Resource mobilization is key for the success of the SADC GGWI. The financing and development partners expressed their commitment to leverage opportunities and to work together to mobilize financing for the region, in line with the SADC GGWI Strategy.  “The Great Green Wall is an initiative that brings different actors together and we are excited about the multisectoral nature of this initiative. This initiative is part of a broader economic and development plan – if we restore land but are not able to reap the benefits of that healthy and restored land due to lack of access to renewable energy and infrastructure, hindering access to markets and livelihoods, then we are only halfway there with our vision,” said Louise Baker, Managing Director of the UNCCD Global Mechanism. With support from countries and partners in the region, the scale and impact of the SADC GGWI is expected to grow exponentially in the next two years. While there is much work ahead, the message from the countries and the partners is clear: the political support is already there – embedded in existing structures and frameworks of the SADC – what is needed is better coordination and collaboration across sectors and actors. 

Southern Africa eyes Great Green Wall-inspired initiative
Progress accelerated but targeted action needed to realize Africa’s Great Green Wall ambition

Two years on since the One Planet Summit, 80 percent of the US$19 billion pledged towards the Great Green Wall Accelerator has been programmed across the 11 African nations that are part of the initiative. However, continued political leadership and country ownership, targeted action at all levels, and strengthened institutional arrangements are required to realize the vision of this Africa-led movement.

Progress accelerated but targeted action needed to realize Africa’s Great Green Wall ambition
Counting trees from space for people and planet

One year into the project, the collaboration between UNCCD, FAO, Aduna, Orgiis and GLOBHE already bears fruit: individual baobab trees can be now recognized from space and a computer system has been trained to plot them on a map. In the Sahel region, where trees play an important role in fixating soils, providing a barrier to land degradation and supporting food security, the baobab is particularly valued, as its fruit not only has a variety of local uses, but can also be a viable commercial export and a source of sustainable income. An icon of the African landscape revered as the tree of life, baobabs cannot be grown on plantations. Proudly standing big and wild, each one is unique and cherished by local communities, as it provides nourishment for people and their animals. Faced with the advance of the climate change, growing energy needs, rapid urbanization and a depleting stock of seedlings that grow to maturity, these green giants need to be carefully monitored and protected. Recent advances in the spatial resolution and availability of satellite imagery have enabled the detection of individual trees from space. Using FAO’s cloud computing platform SEPAL and dense time-series approaches helps identify individual tree species through phenology, or the seasonal foliage pattern, often unique to individual species. The next challenge was pinning down the actual locations of baobab trees and “training” a classification system to extrapolate and predict the tree species associated with each tree canopy. Drone data provided by GLOBHE at a very high spatial resolution allows identification of baobabs, and the  tree locations are then combined with the phenology data to map individual baobabs over vast geographic regions. The resulting maps can be used to inform local communities of the location, number and condition of the baobabs, and enable them “to visualize and analyze high resolution satellite imagery from their mobile phones, allowing to actively monitor and protect this natural resource,” says Yelena Finegold, FAO Forestry Officer. This collaboration between global satellite data providers, drone operators, the private enterprise, the UN and local communities, including women and youth, is a major step toward improving monitoring, conservation and restoration methods in the Sahel. As the project advances toward mapping the baobabs over larger geographical areas, it can also support the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative. Better understanding of where to conserve and invest in long-term sustainable use of baobabs can promote value chain development and enable better land management decisions to monitor and safeguard these green powerhouses that provide sustenance, store water and enrich the land. image (c) MakeWaves Media

Counting trees from space for people and planet