At LIOS we address the global climate issue of desertification and the importance of its reversal by means of regenerative agricultural management methods. We even see great potential in aiding the women's rights movement in developing countries with land regeneration. How?
It is clear that access to habitable, fertile land is a crucial component in building sustainable and resilient communities. However, as the agreed conclusions of the 62. Commission on the Status of Women in 2018 pointed out “a key factor of sustainable global development is an infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. The Commission emphasised “the important role and contribution of rural women as critical agents in the eradication of poverty and in enhancing sustainable agricultural and rural development.” In many developing countries gender disparities within land tenure rights remain a pressing issue, carrying not only social, but also economic and ecologically negative consequences. To strengthen an economy women’s equal access and ownership rights to agricultural land, water resources, and fair market participation is key. Further ensuring they are educated in regenerative agricultural management methods gives them the power on a community level to make a change within their society, economy and the environment that sustains them.
Gaining the right to use, control and transfer land, as well as having a voice in decision making is the requisite of bringing women's rights into equilibrium with human rights in developing countries. Land tenure is influenced not only by national laws and barriers, but also customs and traditions within local communities. Thus education at a regional level is key in changing the perception of women’s rights. Teaching not only rural women but also children from a young age in school about land improvement and value will create the conditions for such fundamental societal changes. With the FAOs estimate of half of agricultural employment in developing countries being female, it is also vital to see the potential of restoring land in the hands of women as much as men.
The dependence of women on men is particularly noticeable in developing countries where persistent conflict leaves women widowed and often left with no secured inheritance rights to their spouse’s land. Furthermore, migration predominantly of men often leaves women and children left behind facing the same uncertainties. The consequent spike in female-headed households, however, leads to rising poverty if not met with strengthened rights for women. This is well stated by Dr. Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura in her study for the World Bank. “There is a strong positive association between women’s land rights and poverty reduction, because women’s control over land assets enhances household welfare, women’s cash incomes and spending on food, and children’s health and education”. A general notion which is becoming more widely realised is that the global climate crisis, particularly loss of habitable land and drought, is exacerbating conflict and the need to migrate. It is a vicious cycle, further highlighting the urgent need to address these issues.
By reviving degraded landscapes suffering from persistent drought and desertification, access to natural, economic and productive resources can be regained. Environmentally speaking it is important to understand, when tackling desertification in arid environments the lack of soil organic matter can only be countered by means of regenerative agricultural practices, as land will fail to regenerate naturally. A further shift in perception is required to stress the need for regenerative agriculture, as opposed to sustainable agriculture on already depleted land and resources. Strategically reviving land also allows carbon recapturing, a key factor in fast and effective climate change reversal. Regenerative agricultural management offers new economic opportunities in realising the value added in agriculture, if lands are restored. Results of these holistic and regenerative methods have shown higher harvest yields at lower input costs, while the growing seasons become longer with the restored land’s replenished water holding capacities. LIOS stresses the close connection between the health of the environment and social peace and prosperity. The creation of agricultural employment, empowering women, strengthening economies, as well as restoring food and water security will aid in decreasing social and cultural tensions. Furthermore, it can slow extreme population growth rates and allow the return of displaced peoples, such as “climate migrants”.