Women's access to land must be prioritised

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Makhotso Sotyu has called for more attention to be given to women’s rights and access to land.

This as the country commemorated global Desertification and Drought Day 2023 on Saturday.

According to studies by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), women disproportionately feel the negative effects of desertification and drought than their male counterparts.

“Despite advancements in developments, many women in most countries battle inequality at various levels in different sectors. Women have unequal and limited access to and control over land; despite being the main actors in the reverse and reduction of land degradation,” she said.

This year, the day was commemorated under the theme “Her Land. Her Rights”.

“The 2023 theme brings to the fore women’s land rights and places more emphasis on the importance of placing women at the centre in achieving Land Degradation Neutrality and other international goals that exist in the three Rio Conventions.

“We need to acknowledge that land remains the most fundamental asset for many to sustain their livelihoods and resilience. As the world continues to be confronted by worsening land degradation, devastating impacts of droughts, climate change, floods, and zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, women and youth are the most affected and remain vulnerable.

“This is because progress is slow to mainstream gender issues into our programmes, projects, policies and strategies at all levels,” Sotyu said. – SAnews.gov.za