Saturday, July 20, 2024

UN chief calls for equal land rights for women

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for equal land rights for women on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

“I urge 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,” he said on Friday in a pre-recorded message for a high-level event in observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which falls on June 17.

“We depend on land for our survival. Yet, we treat it like dirt,” Guterres was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

“Unsustainable farming is eroding soil 100 times faster than natural process can restore them. And up to 40 percent of our planet’s land is now degraded, imperiling food production, threatening biodiversity and compounding the climate crisis.”

This hits women and girls the hardest, he noted.

Women and girls suffer disproportionately from the lack of food, water scarcity, and forced migration that results from mistreatment of land. Yet they have the least control. In many countries, laws and practices block women and girls from owning land. But where they do, they restore and protect it by increasing productivity, building resilience to drought, and investing in health, education and nutrition, said the UN chief.

Equal land rights both protect land and advance gender equality. That is why this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought puts the focus on “Her Land, Her Rights,” he said. “And together, let’s stop land degradation by 2030.”



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