Thank you, Madame Moderator.  And thank you, Mr. President of the General Assembly and Madame Deputy Secretary General.  And thank you to the UN for organizing this important event.

It is entirely fitting that we gather here on UN Drought and Desertification Day to highlight the importance of land rights for women, for the denial of these rights  puts the world at greater risk.

As the Secretary General has observed, we must work to eliminate long-standing disparities in the agricultural, environmental, and legal systems by eliminating discrimination and structural barriers that hamper women’s land rights and leadership in sustainable land management.

Women hold a vital stake in the health of the land, yet often don’t have control over it.

Around the world, women are less likely to own or control land than men, leaving them more vulnerable to  poverty, hunger, gender-based violence, and displacement, all of which limit their ability to thrive and prosper.

President Biden recognized the need to change this dynamic,  promote gender equity and equality, and empower women and girls to  decrease land degradation, build resilience to drought, and also address the climate crisis.

In 2021, the Administration released the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which recognizes the critical role of women and girls as leaders in mitigating and adapting to climate change and identifies “promoting gender equity in mitigating and responding to climate change” as one of its ten interconnected, strategic priorities.

This means pressing for stronger land rights for women, including indigenous women.

Their stewardship of land through inclusion in individual or collective ownership is indispensable to combating land degradation and desertification, increasing land restoration, and building drought resilience.  The effort to advance the rights and opportunities for women and girls worldwide is not just a job for diplomats.  The President has tasked the entire U.S government – through our defense, diplomacy, foreign aid, and trade efforts—to incorporate this into our work as a priority.

As President Biden has noted, promoting gender equity and equality  is “a strategic imperative that will advance prosperity, stability, and security globally in the years to come.”

This applies to women’s land rights.  And the United States is committed to standing with women, in all of their diversity, and joining with all of you to make to make this vision a reality.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future