‘Women’s role vital in land restoration efforts’

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Published on Sep 12, 2019 11:49 PM IST
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ByJayashree Nandi

New Delhi: Women are the primary stewards of the global land base and supporting the role of women in monitoring land degradation to achieve the target of land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030 is among the key recommendations from independent scientists of the Committee of Science and Technology (CST) at the 14th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD CoP14).

Sustainable consumption and production patterns with low per capita consumption, renewable energy driven housing and transport, incorporation of indigenous knowledge in land restoration, land tenurial security are also among the key recommendations.

The CST recommendations will largely inform the decisions taken at closing of the CoP14 on Friday, with some already being negotiated.

After reviewing various scientific assessments, including the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services, land degradation and restoration assessment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Climate Change and Land report, CST has six main recommendations.

One is to ensure ecosystem services and safeguard biodiversity of land through incorporation of indigenous knowledge and recognition of the role of women in land management. Another is to switch to “sustainable consumption and production chains” through low per capita consumption, low and renewable energy-based housing, transportation and industrial systems, including identifying ways to reduce food wastage and wood fuel use.

The CST also recommended greater knowledge sharing among parties, especially from those doing major land restoration initiatives.

It said drought is more than a natural meteorological phenomenon because “land use coupled with water use is projected to continue increasing at the global level as a function of population growth, economic development and changing consumption patterns…”

Land and water use for food will face a double challenge as demand for food competes with other sectors and climate change exacerbates droughts. CST recommended parties to consider changing drought policy to fully reflect influence of land use and management on water availability.

Since agriculture is both a cause and casualty of land degradation, unsustainable farming due to economic pressures, misaligned policies leading to food insecurity could force 50 to 700 million people to migrate by 2050, it said.

“The occurrence of land degradation is correlated with gender inequality. The yield gap between female and male farmers is 20%. Women are often vulnerable in terms of land tenure rights (and thus face far more uncertainty),” said Barron Joseph Orr, lead scientist for UNCCD. Women’s yields were lower than men’s for a variety of crops – 20% lower for vegetables and 40% lower for sorghum, according to UNCCD analysis.

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