The Youth for Land – Protecting Our Legacy, Securing Our Future campaign is a movement inspired and driven by the passion and commitment of young people worldwide as we face multiple environmental challenges, as this years Desertification and Drought Day 2024 and COP16 present an urgent call to action, with the theme “United for Land. Our Legacy. Our Future.”

Introduction:

We, the youth of the world, are calling on the global leaders of UNCCD COP 16 to take immediate and decisive actions to combat desertification, land degradation, and drought (DLDD). Our future depends on the health of our land, and we demand sustainable solutions to protect our legacy. Join us in urging global leaders to prioritize DLDD in their agendas and implement effective measures to secure a sustainable future for all.

Petition Statement:

We, the undersigned, demand that the Parties to the UNCCD commit to the following actions to address DLDD:

Promote Youth Involvement: We call upon the parties to recognize and support the vital role of youth in combating DLDD by creating platforms for youth participation, funding youth-led initiatives, and including youth representatives in decision-making processes.

Land based green and decent Jobs for youth: We call upon the parties to allocate substantial funding to create and support green jobs in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, forestry, and land restoration while ensuring that they provide fair wages, safe working conditions, and opportunities for career advancement. These jobs should focus on environmental conservation, combating land degradation, land restoration and promoting sustainable land use practices.

Enhance Education and Awareness: We call upon the parties to develop and implement educational programs to raise awareness about DLDD and its impacts, focusing on empowering young people with the knowledge and skills to drive change in their communities while encouraging international cooperation and knowledge-sharing to tackle DLDD, promoting best practices and successful models that can be replicated and scaled globally.

Increase Funding for Sustainable Land Management: We call upon the parties to allocate significant financial resources to support sustainable land management practices, ensuring that local communities have the tools and knowledge needed to restore and protect their land by investing in and promoting climate-resilient agricultural practices that protect the land, improve soil health, and ensure food security in the face of changing climate conditions.

Land justice and rights for young people: Access to land, whether for ownership or use, is a fundamental human right that is essential for sustainable development, economic empowerment, and social stability. We call upon the parties to strengthen legal frameworks to protect the land rights of young people and communities, preventing land grabs and unlawful evictions and also ensure that land reforms prioritize the needs and rights of young people, particularly in rural and indigenous areas.

Strengthen Policies and Legislation: We call upon the parties to take immediate and concrete steps to ensure Equitable Access to Land for Youth and push for implementation of policies that facilitate affordable and fair access to land for young people, particularly those from marginalized and underrepresented communities through implementation and enforcement of robust policies and legislation to prevent land degradation, promote land restoration, and ensure sustainable land use practices globally.

Monitor and Report Progress: Establish transparent monitoring and reporting mechanisms to track the progress of DLDD initiatives, ensuring accountability in land governance while ensuring that the voices of young people are heard and respected.