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Gender

Sources

Gender Action Plan, a publication produced by the UNCCD

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Widespread and unprecedented land degradation, including desertification, affects the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people (IPBES “Summary for policymakers of the thematic assessment report on land degradation and restoration,” 2018), threatens food production and biodiversity, contributes to climate change, deepens poverty, and induces displacement and migration. In most developing countries, land degradation impacts men and women differently, mainly due to women’s unequal access to land, credit, extension services, and technology (UN Women, 2018).

Women’s transformative potential can become the cornerstone for achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) and fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Lessons from various projects[1] around the world show that both women and men benefit from a gender approach that reinforces their joint participation in restoring the productivity of degraded land. Efforts to reduce poverty and introduce sustainable management of land and water resources have benefited from recognition of women’s unique capabilities and their role as the main providers of food security for their families.

Women often hold important knowledge; their experiences and understanding of the local environment and of plants, medicines, food, water and other resources are important community assets. When communities adopt strategies to increase land productivity and ensure equal access by men and women to agricultural extension services, technology and rural finance, the benefits are sustainable and become a public good. Addressing the persistent gender inequalities that fuel women’s poverty is therefore imperative.

The Gender Action Plan (GAP)

UNCCD parties are committed to improving the quality of life for women worldwide. In September 2017, the UNCCD’s Gender Action Plan (GAP) was adopted at COP13 in Ordos, China. Its overall goal is to support and enhance the implementation of the gender-related decisions and mandates adopted in the UNCCD process.  

The GAP recognizes that gender-responsive policy needs strengthening in all activities related to sustainable land management as well as to implementation processes – participation, economic empowerment, access to land and resources, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building – and that women should participate in the implementation of land and natural resource use policies. It also recognizes that gender dimensions should be mainstreamed into all targets and goals in activities under the Convention to increase their effectiveness.

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[1] See for example: IFAD (n.d.): Gender and Desertification; CGIAR (n.d.): Gender-equitable pathways to achieving sustainable agricultural intensification.