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Our Land, Our Future: Panos calls for collective action against land degradation.
  • By Panos
  • June 5, 2024
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Our Land, Our Future: Panos calls for collective action against land degradation.

Lusaka, Zambia, 05th June 2024 – As we commemorate World Environment Day today, Panos Institute Southern Africa calls for renewed commitments and decisive, inclusive, and locally-led actions to urgently address the challenges of land degradation, desertification and climate change vulnerability that are threatening livelihoods and ecosystems across Southern Africa.

Since its proclamation by the United Nations in 1972, the World Environment Day is commemorated annually on 5th June to raise awareness and mobilize action to protect the environment. This year’s commemoration is under the theme “Land Restoration, Desertification and drought resilience” and the slogan “Our Land, Our Future”.

This year’s commemoration comes at a time when biodiversity, food security and livelihoods in Southern Africa are increasingly threatened by land degradation, desertification, and the climate change induced drought. Panos believes that unless governments, development actors, the private sector, traditional leaders and citizens in the region take urgent and practical measures, the combination of land degradation, desertification and climate change induced disasters like drought will not only undermine the already fragile food security and economic stability but also worsen the prevailing poverty and social inequalities, and result in the region failing to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Land is a critical source of livelihood for Southern Africa. However, unsustainable practices and climate change driven extreme phenomena like floods, droughts and high temperatures have led to widespread land degradation and desertification, and increased the vulnerability of livelihoods and ecosystems.

Panos is of the view that addressing land degradation and the related problems of desertification and drought requires a collective, multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral approach. State and non-state actors need to work together to create and sustain a situation where affected communities drive and own the response to environmental challenges.  For this reason, the organization is working with other stakeholders to advance participation of poor and marginalized communities in fostering climate resilience and inclusive environmental management. As part of the Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) programme, through funding from SouthSouthNorth, Panos is supporting sustainable land and environmental management practices through community-led actions and voices that address environmental degradation and climate change induced challenges, and impact policies respectively. Panos is of the view that marginalized and underprivileged communities are the most negatively impacted by environmental degradation can play a pivotal role in finding local solutions to local challenges, and therefore should be provided with opportunities and avenues to do so.

We urge governments and stakeholders in the Southern Africa region to recommit to promotion of sustainable land management through progressive policy decisions and investment in community led and focused environmental and livelihood practices. Civil society, the private sector, and individuals should join forces and prioritize the restoration of our lands to secure a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

Investing in land restoration is investing in our collective future. It is a step towards ensuring that our children inherit a world where they can thrive. Let us all commit to making “Our Land, Our Future” a reality.

Issued by:


Vusumuzi Sifile

Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa

Email: vusa@panos.org.zm