World leaders urged to prioritize women’s land rights at the UN


Embargoed until Friday 16th June 00:01 (GMT)

World leaders urged to prioritize women’s land rights at the UN


Bonn/New York, 13 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.

Notes to editors
For interviews and enquires please contact: and/or
To access the UNCCD’s new gender policy brief, embargoed until 00:01 EDT on June 16th, please click here

Confirmed details of high-level 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

Webcast Link: and streamed via Twitter and Facebook: @unccd

Date and time: Friday 16 June 2023 10:00 hrs -13:00 hrs (EDT) / 15:00 hrs– 18:00 hrs (BST) / 16:00 hrs – 19:00 hrs (CEST)

• Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly
• Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
• Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
• Ms. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland
• Ms. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of Namibia
• Ms. Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Vice-President of the Government of Spain
• Ms. Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland and UNCCD Land Ambassador
• Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association of Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad
• Ms. Sonia Guajajara, Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Brazil
• Mr. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development, Canada
• Ms. Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, USA
• Ms. Jennifer Littlejohn, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, USA
• Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP
• Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General, FAO
• Ms. Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director, UN Women
• Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD
• Ms. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA
• Mr. Alain-Richard Donwahi, UNCCD COP15 President, Côte d’Ivoire
• Dr. Solange Bandyaki-Badji, President, Rights and Resources Group
• Ms. Rex Molapo, Co-founder, Conservation Music, Lesotho
• Ms. Kehkashan Basu, Founder-President, Green Hope Foundation and UNCCD Land Hero
• Ms. Lukwesa Burak, BBC News Presenter

Video and multimedia assets: Video and multimedia assets from the event will be made available immediately afterwards.
Existing visual assets from Her Land Campaign can be found at: (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 social media assets here:
Learn more about the campaign here:
For information about Desertification and Drought Day 2023 events in New York and around the world visit:









cover photo:Landesa