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Tobacco-free farms: a healthier future for people and land 

Tobacco growing not only harms human health, but the health of our land as well, undermining the future of our food. While today a record 349 million people are facing acute food insecurity, tobacco is grown in over 124 countries, taking up 3.2 million hectares of fertile land that could be used to grow food. The World No Tobacco Day on 31 May under the slogan “Grow food, not tobacco” encourages governments to end tobacco-growing subsidies and use the savings to support farmers who make a switch to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition.    While we are aware of the health impact of tobacco, which kills more than 8 million people annually around the globe, we tend to think less about the destructive effect of tobacco cultivation for the environment. To meet the demand for land needed for tobacco cultivation, 200,000 hectares of forests are destroyed each year. For every 15 boxes of cigarettes sold, a tree is chopped down.  Tobacco causes other forms of land degradation, such as soil erosion, because it is usually planted as a monocrop, leaving topsoil poorly protected from wind and water, reducing soil fertility and disrupting water cycles. Tobacco crops also require large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that pollute the soil and pose a serious hazard for farmers and their families.  Recognizing that there is no sustainable future in tobacco, farmers in Kenya and Zambia are making a shift to growing high-yield and nutritious food crops such as high-iron beans with the support of the Tobacco-Free Farms Initiative launched by World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Capital Development Fund and the UNCCD, supported by the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and in collaboration with the national ministries of health and agriculture.  Creating a supportive crop production and marketing ecosystem means mapping value chain options for nutrient-dense alternative food crops and supporting sourcing of inputs, training in good agricultural practices, enabling access to microfinance opportunities and credit, and improving post-harvest processing systems. Tobacco-Free Farms Initiative has been active in Migori County, Kenya for the last four growing seasons, successfully supporting over 1,400 farmers switching from tobacco to food crops and is currently being scaled to three new tobacco growing counties in Kenya (Meru, Busia, Bungoma) and one tobacco growing province in Zambia (Eastern Province).  By the end of 2024, the project expects:  At least 4000 farmers in Kenya (across four counties) and 1000 farmers in Zambia (across one province) will have converted from tobacco growing to alternative crops   At least 25 per cent increase in acres of land attributed to alternative crops in target counties/provinces  At least 200 per cent increase in annual income of 80 per cent of farmers who switch from tobacco growing to alternative crops  One of the key outcomes of the project is increased return-on-investment for farmers who shift from tobacco to alternative crops. Farmers supported by the initiative to grow high-iron beans are earning at least three times as much as they were growing tobacco in one season. What is good for the farmers is also good for the land. The Tobacco-Free Farms Initiative supports the 2030 agenda on poverty reduction, human health, reduced inequality and economic growth while tackling climate change and combating environmental degradation to secure land resources that feed the growing world population. 

Tobacco-free farms: a healthier future for people and land 
Painting a beautiful world: a children's art story

While children are the least responsible for the environmental degradation, they are likely to inherit a tremendous burden of land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate crisis unless we take the urgent action to address these challenges. Children across the world – whether in Bhutan or Barbados, India or Namibia – have beautiful dreams of what the world should be, now and in the future. The UNCCD Capacity Development and Innovations Office is launching a project "Painting a beautiful World: A children's art story," inviting children to visualize how they feel (and why) about the land they inhabit. We invite children to harness their imagination and artistic gifts to draw pictures of nature, animals, their families, and the surrounding landscapes, highlighting the vital role of healthy land. We hope that the children’s art will carry the messages of environmental awareness while showcasing the uniqueness of cultures, regional landscapes and languages. Through art, the children can express their dreams of the world they want and portray solutions to help achieve a better life on Earth. The deadline for submissions is 19 June 2023. Campaign objectives The main goal of the project is to raise children's awareness on the importance of protecting the land and the environment, so that they can: Appreciate the great significance of land in their daily lives Become future stewards of healthy land Connect with other children in the common quest to protect the land Gain greater awareness of the importance of sustainable development to ensure a secure future for the children of the world We also hope to facilitate an active dialogue between children and adults on environmental stewardship and the need to create a secure future together.   Rules Format for submissions: A hand-drawn illustration in crayon, paint, pencil, pen or any other color medium The maximum size of the finished artwork should be A4 Participation is FREE and open to an individual child or group of children of the same school Individual participants may submit up to two pieces of artwork, groups are allowed to submit one piece Participants must be between 6 years and 12 years of age by the submission deadline  The artwork must be the original work of the participant(s), not published previously The submission of each participant or group of participants must be approved by a parent, teacher or a guardian All drawings must be submitted through this link, in a gif, jpg, jpeg or png format scanned from the original artwork created by hand The participants grant the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), its partners and other UN agencies, as well as other persons or entities authorized by the Secretariat, a free-of-charge, non-exclusive, irrevocable, transferable, perpetual, worldwide right to use the copyright, related rights or any other intellectual property rights in accordance with existing law or that may arise by law concerning the submitted drawings The UNCCD is entitled to publish the drawings while carrying no obligation to do so If an entry is considered for an award, the intended awardee will be asked to submit proof of age All entries and the participants' details (name, age, school or town) may be used in publicity campaigns by UNCCD Participation in this exercise means full acceptance of all rules stated above. Selection process All submissions will be evaluated by the UNCCD Capacity Development and Innovations Office, which will grant awards of 50 euros each for the submissions considered the six best.  Special awards of 100 euros with be given to the school submissions considered the three best. All participants will receive certificates of recognition.  

Painting a beautiful world: a children's art story
Harnessing UNCCD–CBD synergies to safeguard nature and livelihoods 

While land covers less than 30 per cent of the earth’s surface, it is home to 85 per cent of all species. It comprises a variety of terrestrial ecosystems that provide a broad range of essential goods and services, vital to sustaining all life. Biodiversity above and below ground supports the ecological processes that underpin the healthy and beneficial functions of land.   Land use change has been identified as the greatest threat to nature, projected to have the largest global impact on biodiversity by the year 2100.  Leveraging synergies between international commitments to stem biodiversity loss and land degradation is therefore key to address these interconnected crises.  On this year's International Biodiversity Day, the new brief “Land Restoration to Safeguard Nature and Livelihoods: UNCCD and CBD Working Together” spotlights the shared agenda of restoration and resilience, central to both UNCCD and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework for 2030. It identifies where and how synergies can enhance implementation at global and national levels, increasing the impact of limited finance and delivering multiple benefits.  UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “We must harness the power of synergy, a power where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergies, like the harmony of a finely tuned orchestra, exist where commitments intersect under binding multilateral agreements and voluntary commitments. Here, at the nexus of land governance, management and restoration, we find a melody that can restore balance.”  The brief stresses that preventing degradation of ecosystems and rehabilitating degraded land are cost-effective responses that can simultaneously safeguard biodiversity and improve rural livelihoods, while reducing the growing environmental risks to our societies, economies, and the natural world.  Recently adopted Global Biodiversity Framework together with Sustainable Development Goals and Land Degradation Neutrality commitments present a roadmap for a harmonious future when we channel these pledges into national plans and align our actions for resilience and sustainability. 

Harnessing UNCCD–CBD synergies to safeguard nature and livelihoods 
International Biodiversity Day 2023: Message by UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw

On International Biodiversity Day, we stand at a pivotal moment. We are at a point where we have the power to strengthen life on Earth, or let it decline. The theme "From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity" is challenging us to turn our commitments into tangible actions. The natural world is a magnificent tapestry. A grand masterpiece painted with a palette of countless species, and ecosystems. Nature is the source of our existence. Nature, including Land, provides us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the medicine that heals. But this complex symphony of life stands on a precipice. Changes in how we use land are predicted to have the most devastating impact on biodiversity by 2100. Consider this: although land covers less than 30 per cent of the Earth's surface, it is home to a staggering 85 per cent of all species. These lands support a rich variety of ecosystems that provide essential goods and services that sustain life on our planet. Yet the threads of this tapestry are fraying. If we continue on our current path, the cheerful songs of birds or the buzzing of bees may become sounds of distant past. The peaceful sight of a lush grassland or a healthy wetland may be relegated to a souvenir. These trends are not only leading to the loss of biodiversity, but they are also exacerbating climate change. Today we are called to action. We must harness the power of synergy, a power where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergies, like the harmony of a finely tuned orchestra, exist where commitments intersect under binding multilateral agreements and voluntary commitments. Here, at the nexus of land governance, management, and restoration, we find a melody that can restore balance. The crises of land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are interconnected, and their effects are felt in our societies, ecosystems, and economies. The path to harmony lies in conserving, managing, and restoring our ecosystems and land resources. That’s where we can strike the right notes for the healthier planet. The Rio Conventions alongside the Sustainable Development Goals, form a symphony of resilience and sustainability. Harnessing synergies requires an orchestra in harmony. We need to integrate these agreements into our national plans, harmonizing our actions for a better future. With the adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework in late 2022, we have a roadmap for a harmonious future. In support of this Framework, the UNCCD released a Synergy Brief on this year's Biodiversity Day, 22 May. So far, concerted action has been insufficient to address the interlinked biodiversity loss and land degradation crises, the brief suggests. Preventing the degradation of ecosystems and rehabilitating or restoring degraded land and soil are cost-effective responses that can safeguard biodiversity and improve rural livelihoods, while reducing the growing environmental risks to our societies, economies, and the natural world. So, on this International Biodiversity Day 2023, let us rise to the challenge. Together, we can turn the silence of biodiversity loss into a symphony of life. A symphony that will echo through the ages. Thank you!

International Biodiversity Day 2023: Message by UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw
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