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Madrid (Spain), 30 June 2023 --- The Spanish Government will make globally available a pioneering system to monitor meteorological droughts in real-time, helping other countries build up their early warning systems and adopt a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to drought management. The announcement is part of Spain’s contribution to the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), a coalition of more than 30 countries and 20 international entities driving drought resilience in the face of climate change. Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, made the announcement in Madrid during the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on Drought of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). “I applaud Spain's leadership and its drive to share technological innovations and valuable expertise with other regions that, like the Mediterranean, are particularly vulnerable to drought,” said UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Andrea Meza Murillo. “IDRA recognizes that countries and communities need to tap into their collective experience and knowledge to move towards a more resilient future. Spain’s move is a step in that direction.” Real-time drought visualizations The system developed by Spanish scientists monitors real-time rainfall and evapotranspiration —the combined loss of water from the soil surface and plants— through satellite data and a series of automated weather stations. The resulting visualizations are freely available online and inform the management of water resources, especially, in key industries such as agriculture. Users can also visualize meteorological drought indexes in Spain since 1961 and download datasets for specific places and times. The tool was launched in 2021 as part of Spain’s National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change, and has since been incorporated into Google Earth Engine, a public platform for the analysis and visualization of geospatial datasets. The contribution of Spain is in line with IDRA’s commitment to the ‘Early Warning for All’ initiative against extreme weather and climate change, launched by the United Nations Secretary-General and overseen by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO is one of the founding members of IDRA, which was launched in 2022 at the initiative of Senegal and Spain. As part of a drive to promote knowledge-sharing, IDRA members are working to facilitate partnerships between technology providers and vulnerable regions to make drought-management innovations available to all. Members have also agreed on establishing communities of practice to foster knowledge exchange and collaboration. Policy options for drought resilience From 21 to 23 June 2023, Madrid hosted the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought (IWG), which previously convened in Yerevan, Armenia and Bonn, Germany. The Group is working to identify policy instruments that help countries prepare themselves for, and manage, worsening droughts. In 2024, it will present its findings and recommendations to the 16th UNCCD Conference of Parties. No country is immune to drought and its impacts. In Europe alone, economic losses related to drought reach around 6,200 million euros annually, and the global impacts of this phenomenon are projected to become longer and more severe due to climate change and unsustainable land management. Drought affects agriculture, but also energy, transportation, and tourism, and it directly affects the health of an estimated 55 million people around the world each year.
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.
While plastic has many valuable uses, our dependency on it comes at high environmental, social, economic and health costs. The qualities that make plastic useful are also the ones that make it hazardous: designed to fool nature itself, most plastics are too resilient to biodegrade in a meaningful timeframe. Our current efforts to recycle plastics have been inefficient so far: only 9 percent of plastic is recycled globally, and much of it is either thrown away or cannot be processed for recycling. One third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or freshwater, endangering our food, our livestock and the health of the soil. Invisible to the eye, microplastics linger in the environment, the food chain, and our bodies. Soil is the foundation of our agricultural systems which support nearly all food-producing crops: about 95 percent of our food comes from soil. Fertile soil that produces our food is a finite resource, and plastic pollution can have long-lasting impact on soil health, biodiversity and productivity, all of which are essential to food security. To avoid the future where our food systems are choked by plastics, we must rethink the ways we produce, consume and dispose of them. “Our soils silently bear the weight of discarded plastics, impacting our daily lives. On this World Environment Day, let us redefine our relationships with plastic, from design to disposal” says UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. The solution to plastic pollution is closer to the ground than we might think. Our commitment to beat plastic pollution combined with business incentives that address plastic dependency can result in a positive switch from the ‘throwaway economy’ to a ‘reuse’ society. Through our everyday choices as consumers, let us join efforts with governments and businesses, shifting toward sustainable plastic alternatives and reusable plastic products, to reduce damage to human health, the environment and the land.
Visual Assets including b-roll, photos with captions and social media assets are available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/folders/1GSIl_7nTGVMwQySQGwoLGtggRzHkIn-m Bonn (Germany), 02 June 2023 - The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is proud to announce that three-time Grammy Award winning Indian musician Ricky Kej has been appointed one of its official Goodwill Ambassadors. He has previously served as UNCCD Land Ambassador, helping the Convention raise awareness of land degradation, desertification and drought with his fans around the world. In this new designation, he will act as an honorary spokesperson, playing a crucial role in raising awareness and advocating for the objectives of the Convention with youth, women, children and affected communities. This announcement comes two weeks before the global observance of Desertification and Drought Day with a high-level event at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 16 June where Ricky will be performing alongside fellow UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors, musicians Baaba Maal and Inna Modja. This year’s Desertification and Drought Day will put the global spotlight on women’s land rights under the slogan “Her Land. Her Rights”. The UNCCD was set up in 1994 in response to the global challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought. The Convention works with its 197 Parties 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 climate change and land degradation. Women, especially those from poor and marginalized communities, are disproportionately affected, due to various factors including their limited access to and control of land. In all parts of the world, they face significant barriers in securing land rights, limiting their ability to thrive and prosper. Ibrahim Thiaw, Under-Secretary-General and UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “I am honoured that Ricky Kej has agreed to take on the important role of UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador, joining musicians Baaba Maal and Inna Modja appointed to the same role earlier this year. With his global influence and commitment to sustainability, this outstanding artist will play a crucial role in raising awareness around the importance of combatting desertification, land degradation and drought. “I am confident that his appointment will significantly strengthen our efforts to mitigate today’s impacts of land degradation and advance tomorrow’s land stewardship to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.” Ricky Kej, internationally renowned and three-time Grammy-Award-winning Indian music producer and singer, said: “It's a privilege to be a UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador, and I'm committed to raising awareness about land degradation neutrality while championing gender equality. I believe that by empowering women, we can inspire global action to protect our Earth and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” “My passion for music and environmental action extends to promoting empowerment and equality for all. It is important to tackle desertification and land degradation while uplifting every member of our global community. As part of my mandate as UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador, I will continue to contribute to these efforts.” ENDS Notes to editors For more information or interviews, please contact: UNCCD Press Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, External Relations and Partnerships, firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Banda Genchev, Goodwill Ambassador Focal Point, email@example.com About UNCCD 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. About Ricky Kej Ricky Kej is a music composer, US Billboard chart No.1 artist, and a three-time Grammy winner. He is also a passionate advocate for sustainable development and environmental action. In 2019, Ricky composed the UNCCD anthem “Born from the Land”, which he performed at the high-level event with his co-writer and fellow Goodwill Ambassador, Baaba Maal. Ricky’s environmentalist advocacy efforts have been recognized by various accolades over the years – he received the United Nations “Global Humanitarian Artist” award, the Ban Ki-moon Award and was named one of the 100 Real Leaders who ‘Inspire the Future’ as well as the Parliament of Canada’s Outstanding Musical and Humanitarian award and was named as one of the 100 Real Leaders who ‘Inspire the Future’. About Desertification and Drought Day 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. The event is open to media and can be followed online via UN Web TV. More information, including registration details, can be found here.