Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNCCD: Andrea Meza Murillo: We Need to Hear Your Voice   13:33, August 01, 2022

BEIJING, August 1 (China Youth Daily) “Young people play a critical role, and there is huge potential,” Andrea Meza Murillo, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said to China Youth Daily. She highlighted the role the youth play in land governance and combating climate change.

Andrea calls herself a “steward of the land.” In her view, there are big challenges, if people are to restore and have good governance around land, which will require a series of systematic measures.

“We need to understand that land is the foundation of our life, of our economies that we really depend on land,” Andrea said. She explained with examples. Drought, which is amplified by climate change, has become an existential threat. And destroying land will lead to the loss of biodiversity. Based on the current problems, Andrea emphasized that land governance was interlinked with climate goals and biodiversity goals. Another problem is that people have not taken the value of land into consideration when measuring welfare and economic?gains. “It looks like there is no economic impact and this is really not true,” said Andrea.

Land governance, which is the part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, remains a challenge to achieving the goals.

“We know that, when you haven’t clarified who is owning the land, then it's more difficult to really take care of the land,” said Andrea. “When you hear that people want to mobilize more resources, when you talk about carbon credits, then you need to have clarity on land tenure,” she added.

According to her opinion, inadequate land tenure, to some extent, would lead to poverty among some people who cannot access bank credit and the benefits of technical assistance. It can be seen that everything is so interrelated and part of a complex land governance system.

“We need wise decisions in terms of managing and restoring land,” said Andrea, “which means we have to change our patterns of production and consumption.”

Andrea placed great hopes on the youth. From her perspective, youth, as the largest consumer group in the world, has such a big power to generate trends in the market and give signals to the governments. In addition, youth, as citizens, can talk with the mayors, the global leaders and the CEOs of companies.

“We need to hear your voices,” as young people “express their aspirations and anger” she said. “In that way, we will be able to transform the economy, to transform the way societies are working.”

Andrea stressed that action should be taken immediately and that all levels, including citizens, cities, companies and countries, could play a role in it. She thought if sustainable development is put at the heart of the development model, then changes in the relationship between human beings and nature would happen gradually.

As a part of the World Youth Development Forum, the thematic forum on the climate change and green development was held in Tsinghua University on July 22. Andrea delivered video remarks there and called on people to act now to prevent further global warming, which, she said, would result in degradation of 15 million square kilometers of land.

According to Andrea’s video remarks, if people around the world are combating climate change right now, the environment humans live in will be dramatically improved, land-based industries will prosper, and more than 70 million jobs will be available for millions of young people in the coming years and decades.

“What we really need is not only commitment, it’s action.” Andrea said. She noted that China was becoming “a global leader” in a lot of these issues , and is putting forward a series of good ideas of how to conserve, protect and retore nature on the climate change, biodiversity and land agendas. More importantly, there are many good examples of actions in China that is the real influence on the world. It is known that each reality is different, but, Andrea considered that each country “can and needs to be part of this change”.

Reporting by Yuan Jie and Zhang Yi

(editor: Hou Qianqian)

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