We, representatives of States, and institutions, civil society, forming a group of political, business and civil society leaders, committed to promoting gender equality as a means of accelerating land restoration, gather in Abidjan at the Gender Caucus of the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2022,
Recognize that land provides a source of food, feed, fiber, shelter, income, and social identity, and reduces vulnerability to food and water insecurity, hunger, and poverty, particularly in rural areas,
Acknowledge that land remains amongst the most fundamental asset for most of the women and men living in developing countries, essential to their life, livelihoods, and resilience,
Recognize that securing women’s access to land and control over land, and access to finance for land-based economic activities are central components of women’s economic empowerment and women’s rights, generating opportunities for economic prosperity and autonomy,
Acknowledge that the lack of secure land tenure contributes to land and forest degradation, and exacerbates poverty, social instability and conflict over land and natural resources,
Recognize that equitable land governance and land tenure security are fundamental components to enable land degradation neutrality and land restoration efforts,
We will strengthen our shared efforts to:
- Promote all necessary measures to identify and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in the context of fighting against desertification/land degradation, and drought (DLDD), in relation to land tenure security and access to, ownership of, and control over land and natural resources, and other forms of property and inheritance, with particular attention on the rights of older women, widows, women with disabilities and young women.
- Foster measures to ensure the full, equal, meaningful and effective participation of women at all levels in land and natural resource governance at the regional, national and landscape levels through the inclusive national-level coordination and promotion of women’s leadership in planning and implementation activities.
- Strengthen and enforce legal frameworks for women’s access to land and control over land, including common lands, and equal land rights both under customary and statutory law, and continue efforts on advocacy for women’s land rights.
- Facilitate access to technology, services, and resources for women and groups in vulnerable situations for their effective participation in land restoration efforts, including through gender-transformative land use planning and management that addresses the root causes of gender inequality.
- Actively work to close the gender gap to move towards evidence-based interventions and responses, collecting, analyzing and disseminating data disaggregated by sex, age, disability, race/ethnicity, class, livelihood source and migrant status and other relevant factors to support the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of land-related interventions and policies.
- Appeal to development agencies, multilateral development banks, national banks and other financial institutions and mechanisms to lift structural barriers and increase funding that specifically target women’s rights organizations and movements, women entrepreneurs, women cooperatives and enterprises led by women and indigenous groups, and civil society organizations that design and implement programmes contributing to DLDD initiatives.
- Commit to working towards the inclusion of gender equality criteria in the development – and granting – of finance for sustainable land management, land restoration and drought preparedness and resilience at the regional, national, subnational and local levels.
- Call upon the COP of the UNCCD to incorporate these commitments into their deliberations around the gendered aspects of DLDD, and into their policy decisions accordingly.
Parties and other stakeholders who wish to join the Declaration may send an email at the following address external-relations [at] unccd.int (external-relationsatunccddotint)