BY OLORUNSUYI OLATUBOSUN
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, says up to 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded thereby endangering food production, threatening biodiversity and compounding the climate crisis.
Guterres said this in his message posted on the UN website on the 2023 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
The UN General Assembly in 1994 declared June 17 of every year the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
The theme for 2023, “Her land, Her rights”, emphasizes that investing in women’s equal access to land and associated assets is a direct investment in their future and future of humanity.
The UN scribe said the effects of land degradation were hitting women and girls the hardest.
He noted that women and girls suffered disproportionately from lack of food, water scarcity, and forced migration that resulted from the mistreatment of land.
“In many countries, laws and practices block women and girls from owning land.
“But where they do, they restore and protect it; increasing productivity; building resilience to drought and investing in health, education and nutrition,” he said.
Guterres said that equal land rights both protect land and advance gender equality.
This, he said, was why the 2023 Desertification and Drought Day puts the focus on “her land, her rights.
He urged all governments to eliminate legal barriers to women owning land, and to involve them in policymaking.
“Support women and girls to play their part in protecting our most precious resource, and together, let’s stop land degradation by 2030,” he said.