40% of Soil on Planet Degraded: Problem of Desertification Worldwide and in Armenia

40% of Soil on Planet Degraded: Problem of Desertification Worldwide and in Armenia

Women’s land rights are in the spotlight of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, observed on 17 June.

“Equal land rights both protect land and advance gender equality,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, in a video message, urging all governments to eliminate legal barriers to women owning land, and to involve them in policy making.

“We depend on land for our survival, yet we treat it like dirt,” the UN chief added, emphasizing the need for action. 

Women make up nearly half of the world’s agricultural workforce, yet 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, according to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

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

 “This hits women and girls the hardest,” he said. “They suffer disproportionately from the lack of food, water scarcity, and forced migration that result from our mistreatment of land, yet they have the least control.”

 Calling for support for women and girls to play their part in protecting “our most precious resource”, he said “together let’s stop land degradation by 2030”.

The Republic of Armenia is a full member of the UN Convention against Desertification. According to the strategy of combating desertification adopted in Armenia in 2015, 48.8% of the territory of Armenia is being desertified, 24.3% is in the risk zone of desertification, only 22.6% of the territory has no desertification processes. In Armenia, severe and very severe droughts were observed in the Ararat Valley and Aragatsotn Region in 2022.

As a solution to this global problem, it is proposed to achieve neutral soil degradation. Armenia, among 123 countries, is involved in the process of achieving neutral soil degradation.

June 20, 2023 at 14:44