Abidjan, 10 May 2022 (TDI): Twelve million hectares of land are lost every year. Forty percent of ice-free land has been degraded due to the dire impacts of climate change.

These statistics were highlighted in the 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The world leaders are gathering in Abidjan under the theme of ‘Land life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stressed the severity of the matter by terming it a ‘crucial choice.’

“We can either reap the benefits of land restoration now or continue on the disastrous path that has led us to the triple planetary crisis of climate, biodiversity, and pollution,” she added.

Outcomes of the report on Land Outlook Report by UNCCD

The Global Land Outlook Report by UNCCD shows that our current land management strategy is ailing and has put half of the world’s economic output -$44 trillion at risk.

“We must ensure that funds are available for countries that need them and that those funds are invested in areas that will have a decisive impact and create a more inclusive, sustainable future for all,” said Mohammad.

The conference aims to contribute to future-proofing land against the impacts of climate change and tackle disaster risks such as droughts, wildfires, and dust storms.

Amina Mohammad highlighted that despite spending 200 million hours collecting water each day, women lack land rights & financial access. She stressed Eliminating barriers for women and girls as landowners and partners as a game-changer for land restoration.

General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid emphasized severe issues affecting the well-being of the people, their livelihoods, and the environment.

“Through it, we aim to move closer to…combatting desertification and restoring degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought, and floods,” General Assembly President said.

According to the statistics by the UN, land degradation undermines the well-being of 3.2 billion people. Unsustainable land use, agriculture, and soil management practices contribute to desertification, drought, and land degradation.

“We are responsible for the bulk of this, considering that human activities directly influence 70 percent of the world’s land”, he alerted.

The Summit against desertification is a call to action to ensure that land – the lifeline on this planet – will also benefit present and future generations.

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