Hoppa yfir valmynd

HER LAND. HER RIGHTS. Desertification & Drought Day 2023.

Statement by Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir.


It gives me great pleasure to participate in this timely event on a pressing topic. 

Tomorrow, June 17th, is both the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, as well as the National Independence Day of Iceland. 

Gender equality is a top priority for Iceland and is a key to a good society as far as we see it. The same will apply to combatting land degradation. This is a major challenge but we firmly believe that keeping gender equality in mind will increase success.

In one version of the Icelandic Book of Settlement (called Landnámabók in Icelandic) composed around 1300, is a passage where it says that when the land was almost fully settled, limits had to be set as to how much land the newcomers could claim. When it came to men, the limit was how much he could cover running with a torch whereas a woman could claim as much land as she could lead a cow through for the same amount of time. Obviously the idea here (whether this passage describes actual practice in the 10th century) is different rules for different genders, but such discriminatory laws and practices need to be abolished.

For example, it is unacceptable that women are still being denied the right to inherit their husbands’ property in over 100 countries. Similarly, the fact that women globally spend 200 million hours every day collecting water is thought-provoking. Would it not be a better use of these women’s time to own the land and have the resources to work it?

It is our firm belief that gender equality will increase the probability of success in combatting major global challenges, such as reaching land degradation neutrality, and ultimately in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

This is firmly kept in mind at the GRÓ Land Restoration Training Program, hosted in Iceland, under the auspices of UNESCO. 

The topic of gender and land tenure is specifically addressed within this program, which assists low- and middle-income countries to combat land degradation, promote sustainable land management and restore degraded land through targeted capacity building. Gender equality is an integral part of the Program’s Mission.

I thank you for your attention.  


Contact us

Tip / Query
Please answer in numerics