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Green jobs for women in Burkina Faso and Senegal

Burkina Faso and Senegal are leading a significant shift towards a future that's both sustainable and inclusive, according to new research released by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and UN Women. Filled with valuable insights for policymakers, NGOs and the private sector, the technical briefs focus on the unique opportunities and challenges facing women entrepreneurs and job seekers in the evolving green economy in these two African nations. At the heart of this transformation is the Great Green Wall Initiative, an ambitious project spanning the Sahel that aims to restore 100 million hectares of land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon, and create 10 million jobs by 2030. This massive undertaking is not only an environmental mission, but a pathway to economic revitalization, particularly in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. “The green transition in Burkina Faso and Senegal is a beacon of hope for gender equality and women's empowerment. It calls for an integrated approach that links green economy goals with gender equality objectives. The Great Green Wall Initiative is a testament to these efforts, combining environmental restoration with economic and social empowerment. By unlocking green jobs for women in key sectors and advocating for gender-responsive policies, these countries aren’t just building a sustainable future; they’re paving the way for a more just and equitable world,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. Despite being a significant part of the workforce in both countries, women in Burkina and Senegal face many obstacles. They earn less than men, are less represented in leadership positions, and are mostly found in the informal sector. Starting formal businesses remains a challenge due to limited resources, such as capital and technology. Women also bear the heavy burden of unpaid care work, particularly in rural areas, which limits their opportunities for income and education. But there's a silver lining. Both countries have immense potential to create green jobs in areas such as agriculture, forestry, energy and waste management. It is estimated that around one million jobs can be created in these sectors, the majority of which will be for women. Opportunities abound in under-exploited areas such as non-timber forest products, the transformation of subsistence agriculture, solar energy and composting in waste management. These sectors offer rewarding and sustainable opportunities, especially for women. To unlock this potential, comprehensive strategies are essential. These include improving women's access to education and training, especially in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); developing climate-resilient technologies for women's cooperatives; facilitating access to green finance; and addressing the burden of unpaid care work. In addition, promoting women's networks in the green economy and establishing innovative value chains centered on non-timber forest products are critical steps. Nearly half of the world's smallholder farmers are women, but they own less than 20 per cent of the world's land. In Senegal, where rural women make up about 70 per cent of the labour force and are responsible for 80 per cent of the country's food production, they own a disproportionately low 10 per cent of agricultural land. Similarly, in Burkina Faso, women make up 60 per cent of the labour force and produce about 70 per cent of the food, but their land ownership is also limited to 8 per cent. Moreover, in both countries, most women access land through their husbands and face difficulties in having their tenure rights recognised and effectively protected. Investing in women’s equal access to, use of and control over land and associated assets is a direct investment in their future and the future of humanity and the planet. Women are instrumental in providing security and stability in rural communities with great potential to contribute to land restoration activities. For more information, contact Mr. Gilles Amadou Ouédraogo gouedraogo@unccd.int  

Green jobs for women in Burkina Faso and Senegal
Land issues high on UN Environment Assembly agenda

Nairobi, 1 March 2024 – Healthy land’s contribution to addressing global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable development was the focus of the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 6), which concluded today in Nairobi. The week-long meeting saw the adoption of the first-ever UNEA resolution on land degradation as well as the announcement of the logo and slogan for the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP16), to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 2 to13 December 2024. Speaking at the high-level event on combating land degradation for climate and biodiversity, UNEA 6 President and Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development for the Kingdom of Morocco, Leila Benali, noted: “Land is the only common denominator among the three Rio conventions, and it is only through land restoration that we can achieve their objectives. We need to build on what unites us rather than what divides us and start with working and credible solutions when it comes to land and soil health”. Announcing the slogan for COP16, “Our Land. Our Future.”, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “COP16 will be a moonshot moment for land, the Paris equivalent for UNCCD. It is crucial that there is convergence and synergy among the three COPs – biodiversity, climate change, and desertification, all taking place this year". For the first time, UNEA adopted a resolution calling for strengthening international efforts to combat desertification and land degradation, restore degraded lands, promote land conservation and sustainable land management, contribute to land degradation neutrality and enhance drought resilience. These issues will be front and center at UNCCD COP16. On behalf of the COP16 Presidency, Osama Ibrahim Faqeeha, Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia, said: "Land is not only important for human life but also crucial for biodiversity and maintaining the delicate balance of our environment. We have to recognize the importance of land and other natural elements of our planet, as 24 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are associated with various land use schemes." Through the Saudi Green Initiative, the Saudi government aims to plant 10 billion trees and protect 30 per cent of the Kingdom’s land. Additional quotes: Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which hosted the meeting to review progress in UNCCD implementation last November, said: "Every minute Uzbekistan loses nine square meters of fertile land, and this is a big problem for any country facing land degradation. It is important to bring together political will, science, and finance to address the challenges of climate change, land degradation, and biodiversity loss". Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said: “Land is where food begins, and without land, we cannot produce food or feed the planet. We need a holistic approach, avoiding fragmentation, and investing in sustainable transformations of our agri-food systems to ensure food security and address climate change and biodiversity loss”. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), said: “Indigenous peoples, who make up 5 per cent of the world's population, protect 80 per cent of the world's biodiversity. They are the guardians of ecosystems and masters of restoring land using traditional knowledge. Direct access to finance, policy coordination, and inclusive decision-making are essential to empowering communities and implementing successful land restoration projects”. UNCCD Land Hero Patricia Kombo from Kenya, who moderated the high-level event at UNEA 6, concluded: “Land degradation is a global challenge that requires concerted action at all levels. It is only by working together that we can restore our land ecosystems, ensure food security, and mitigate the effects of climate change”. For more information: UNCCD Press Office, press@unccd.int, +49 228 815 2820, https://www.unccd.int/, @unccd Recording and photos available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_oSZoVZJF8 https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1QhHqfX_pOFWBuot0ET5hGTogyrWDsq6Q For more information about UNEA 6 and UNCCD COP16 visit: https://www.unep.org/environmentassembly/unea6 and https://www.unccd.int/cop16 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.

Land issues high on UN Environment Assembly agenda
UNEA-6 Multilateral Environmental Agreements Day: Keynote by Ibrahim Thiaw

Madame President, Dear UNEP Executive Director, Excellencies, Presidents and chairs of COPs Ministers, Dear colleagues Executive Secretaries of MEAs, Honorable Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to start by thanking the President of UNEA (my sister Leila Ben Ali) and the Executive Director of UNEP (my other sister Inger Andersen) for dedicating an entire day of UNEA6 to the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). This is a real credit to UNEP. UNEA is one of the important platforms to discuss these issues. Thirty years after the signing of the Rio conventions, and more than fifty years after the creation of some of the MEAs represented here, we must face the facts: the implementation of these treaties cannot be done in silos. We cannot be effective if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Even less so if all the work done by the national focal point for one convention is ignored, or worse, brushed aside by another focal point. Putting things in order therefore begins at home, at the national level. International partners and development agencies, where appropriate, should play their part. MEA secretariats should help engineer cooperation and technical support. In this respect, institutions such as UNEP and Assemblies such as UNEA have a historic responsibility and a critical role to play in harmonizing the work and focus of the various MEAs as we face a multitude of interconnected crises. About the triple planetary crisis, indeed we face a climate crisis, a pollution crisis and a nature crisis. I would be remiss, as head of the UNCCD, not to insist that the nature crisis includes the immense crisis of land and drought, which is currently affecting more than 3 billion people, causing food insecurity, water scarcity and forced displacements. Action on the land is a powerful force for unity. The health of the land determines the food we eat, the water we drink, the quality of the air we breathe, the clothes we wear and many other services that contribute to our well-being. But the damage we inflict on our land poses a serious threat to world peace, and to the global economy. Similarly, the links between land and pollution are obvious. Air pollution is amplified by sand and dust storms. While plastic pollution affects rivers, lakes and oceans, the bulk of the stock stays in land affecting food production, people and the earth system as a whole. The good news is that there are solutions to these serious problems. They are well within our reach and this is literally in our hands. Make no mistake: the best solutions are those that tackle several challenges at once. We must slow down and adapt to climate change, protect and restore nature and biodiversity, reverse land degradation and desertification, and end pollution and waste. We don’t have the luxury of dedicating Monday to climate or pollution, Tuesday to biodiversity and only think that we can wait until Wednesday to tackle Land degradation. These issues are like communicating vessels and we have to address all these challenges at once! The scientific community is increasingly moving from sounding the alarm to signposting solutions that require concerted efforts. However, progress on turning commitments into transformative action must accelerate. Rapidly. Coherently. Consistently. Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, 2024 represents a new opportunity for us all: The three Rio conventions will hold their COPs consecutively at the end of this year. We already had a successful CMS COP a few days ago. At the UNCCD COP16 in Saudi Arabia - in December – we will embark on a unique journey – one that brings all communities of policy and practice to join forces towards a common goal: that of making land healthy again. Parties assembled in Riyadh at UNCCD COP16 will present a groundbreaking action agenda for all MEAs to reverse degradation and to accelerate efforts to restore 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030. Healthy and productive land is the operational link between climate action and biodiversity conservation. Linking up action on land will allow us to take advantage of the synergies that build resilience, mitigate the impacts of climate change, safeguard biodiversity, provide food security for billions around the world, and transform the way we manage the environment and consume its bounty. And this is everyone’s effort. We must ensure that the work on each MEA commitment dovetails with and amplifies the work of the others. By forging synergies with UN entities and conventions, we can amplify our impact, leverage resources, and foster greater coherence in our collective response to global environmental challenges. For example: aligning land degradation neutrality targets with nationally determined contributions and the new biodiversity targets can maximize the impact of nature-positive investments and significantly diminish the huge gap between commitment and action. After all, we are facing one single global challenge – the sustainability of the planet and striving for an environment of peace and prosperity. Martin Luther King Jr once said: “We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now”. So, while MEAs have individual mandates, they ultimately have the same ambition: protecting the people and the planet. Let us make 2024 a pivotal year for environmental multilateralism. The science is clear and sobering. Long-term planning and cooperation are of the essence. But urgent action is needed. Recent years have proven that environmental multilateralism is working. It remains our best shot at tackling the complex and interconnected environmental challenges. Let’s take it! Thank you.

UNEA-6 Multilateral Environmental Agreements Day: Keynote by Ibrahim Thiaw
UNCCD Executive Secretary visits Japan to strengthen collaboration ahead of COP16

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw concluded his two-day visit to Japan to strengthen cooperation with key government and international partners ahead of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this December. During the visit, he signed cooperation agreements with two key international partners – United Nations University (UNU) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). He also had meetings with Ambassador Takeshi Akahori from the Foreign Ministry and senior officials at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Japan has been a signatory to UNCCD since 1998. On 20 February, UNCCD Executive Secretary also joined UNU Rector Professor Tshilidzi Marwala for a public conversation exploring the relationship between land degradation and human security such as famine, conflicts and environmental crises, as well as the role of international cooperation and the UNCCD in combating desertification, land degradation and drought. "The collaboration with UNU and ITTO to strengthen the delivery of scientific knowledge and improve the resilience of the vulnerable populations and ecosystems will be important to support UNCCD Parties in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought,” Mr. Thiaw said. “These issues will be front and centre at the upcoming UNCCD COP16. We look forward to working together on the road to Riyadh and beyond." United Nations University (UNU), which unites 13 scientific institutes in 12 countries around the world works on collaborative research and education, aiming to contribute, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples, and Member States. UNU and the UNCCD have jointly worked on publications around topics of sustainable land management, ecosystem restoration and disaster risk reduction. Future cooperation will focus on aligning approaches on sustainable land and water management, as well as financial inclusion and social protection in the context of ecological restoration. “Desertification is an urgent, complex issue that negatively impacts the lives and livelihoods of 3.2 billion people worldwide. Combating desertification requires partnerships and shared expertise. Working in collaboration, UNU and UNCCD will be able to strengthen research, advocacy and capacity building to further support the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States as we work to reverse desertification and confront related critical issues,” Professor Marwala concluded. Also in Tokyo, the UNCCD and International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) committed to another four years of joint work on the sustainable management of tropical forests under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru and UNCCD Executive Secretary Thiaw. The overall objective of the new MOU is to support ITTO member countries and Parties to the UNCCD in restoring and maintaining tropical forest landscapes while promoting the sustainable production of timber and other products and ecosystem services. ITTO is an intergovernmental organization promoting the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests. ITTO’s membership represents about 90% of the global tropical timber trade and more than 80% of the world’s tropical forests.

UNCCD Executive Secretary visits Japan to strengthen collaboration ahead of COP16
Desertification and Drought Day 2024: “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future” 

Bonn, Germany, 21 February 2024 – This year’s Desertification and Drought Day, observed on 17 June, will focus on the future of land stewardship. Every second, an equivalent of four football fields of healthy land becomes degraded – adding up to a total of 100 million hectares every year. Engaging present and future generations is more important than ever to halt and reverse these alarming trends and meet global commitments to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030. The theme chosen for this year's Desertification and Drought Day — “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future.” — seeks to mobilize all parts of society in support of sustainable land stewardship. 17 June 2024 will also mark the 30th anniversary of the Bonn-based United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)— the sole legally binding international treaty on land management and drought ; one of the three Rio Conventions alongside climate change and biodiversity. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “Up to 40 per cent of the world’s land is already degraded, affecting  close to half of humanity. Yet the solutions are on the table. Land restoration lifts people out of poverty and builds resilience to climate change. It is time to unite for land and show a red card to land loss and degradation worldwide.” Hosted by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the global observance event will take place at the Bundeskunsthalle (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) in Bonn on Monday, 17 June 2024. “Around a quarter of the world’s population is affected by drought. The condition of our soils in Europe is also deteriorating rapidly. Protecting soil and land is a global challenge. We need to take action together today so that the generations to come can have access to vital natural resources. We will only be able to feed humankind and deal with the climate and biodiversity crisis if we have healthy soils,” Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Bringing together leaders from all over the world, youth and prominent personalities from academia, civil society, sports and entertainment, the global observance event will showcase a strong ambition to be united for land, ahead of the largest-ever UN conference on land and drought in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2024 (UNCCD COP16). Throughout May and June, UNCCD together with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the City of Bonn as their partner, will kick-start a #UNited4Land public awareness campaign and will be engaged in various events in and around Bonn on the future of land stewardship. Katja Dörner,  Lady Mayor of Bonn said: “As the home of the UNCCD and a city on the path towards climate neutrality in 2035, Bonn can only think and protect climate, nature and land together. Land is everything— and so much more than the area our city is built on. Land is the soil on which our crops grow, a habitat for plants and animals, a sponge for water, open space and cooling corridor— and a legacy that we pass on to future generations.” Countries around the world are mobilizing to mark Desertification and Drought Day with an array of educational, cultural and sporting activities—from film screenings to football tournaments and from tree planting to gardening competitions. A full programme of events will be available online at: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day. About Desertification and Drought Day Officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 (A/RES/49/115), Desertification and Drought Day, marked annually on 17 June, has the following objectives:   To promote public awareness of the issues linked to desertification, land degradation and drought To showcase human-led solutions to prevent desertification and reverse intensifying droughts To strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Take part in this year’s celebration: To find out more about this year’s Desertification and Drought Day, click here: https://www.unccd.int/DDD2024 To access #UNited4Land campaign materials, click here: https://trello.com/b/VdJGolcp/desertification-and-drought-day-2024 To learn more about Desertification and Drought Day activities around the world, click here: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day/2024/events-around-world For online participation in the global observance event in Bonn, please contact: communications(at)unccd.int For more information, please contact: UNCCD: Xenya Scanlon, +49 152 5454 0492, xscanlon@unccd.int or Yannis Umlauf, +49 178 285 8629 yumlauf@unccd.int with copy to press@unccd.int   BMZ: Press Unit, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Tel: +49 (0)30 18 535-2451, Email: presse@bmz.bund.de, www.bmz.de

Desertification and Drought Day 2024: “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future” 
Become the next UNCCD Land Hero!

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 Deadline extended: 29 February 2024 June 2024: Desertification and Drought Day December 2024: Participation in COP16 Meet the current cohort: Land Heroes Follow Us on social media: Twitter X | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn 

Become the next UNCCD Land Hero!