The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) announced on April 17, 2023, the appointment of two Fulani musicians, Baaba Maal and Inna Modja as Goodwill Ambassadors. The two singers were previously UNCCD Land Ambassadors, helping the Convention raise awareness among their fans around the world on the issues of land degradation, desertification, and drought.
According to a press release from the UN body, as part of this new appointment, the duo will act as honorary spokespersons, playing a crucial role in raising awareness and defending the objectives of the Convention among young people, women, children, and affected communities.
The new Goodwill Ambassadors will help, the UNCCD hopes, “to inspire the public and decision-makers to take practical action and carry out policies. This is to achieve the mission of the convention, which is to promote sustainable land management”. They will also help, hopes the UNCCD, to advance efforts to reduce poverty as well as promote gender equality, especially among climate-vulnerable and land-dependent populations.
Ibrahim Thiaw, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of UNCCD said: “I am honored that Baaba Maal and Inna Modja have agreed to play the important role of UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors. With their global influence and commitment to sustainability, these exceptional artists will play a crucial role in raising awareness of the importance of combating desertification, land degradation, and drought.”
Mr. Thiaw says he is “convinced that their appointment will significantly strengthen our efforts to mitigate the current effects of land degradation and promote the management of tomorrow’s land to provide food, water, shelter, and economic opportunities to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner. »
Baaba Maal, the Grammy Award-winning Senegalese singer who produced the music for the film “Wakanda Forever”, said: “I am proud to be a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNCCD and to use my music and my influence to combat desertification, land degradation, and gender inequality. By empowering women and ensuring equal opportunities, we can shape a sustainable and just future for our planet. Join me in preserving our lands, supporting climate-vulnerable communities, and empowering women to create a better world for all.”
As for Inna Modja, Malian singer, actress, and activist from the Sahel, she said: “I am very honored to be a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNCCD. As a woman, artist, and climate and social justice activist, I believe in empowering women and youth and promoting gender equality in the fight against desertification. and land degradation. Together we can create a brighter and more sustainable future. »
Created in 1994, the UNCCD’s mission is to respond to the global challenges of desertification, soil degradation and drought. The convention is working with its 197 Parties to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030, a global goal enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the UN body, up to 40% of the world’s land is currently degraded, with disastrous consequences for the climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods. And droughts have increased by 29% since 2000 as a result of climate change and land degradation.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. It unites governments, scientists, policymakers, the private sector, and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter, and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.
About Baaba Maal
Baaba Maal is a world-renowned Senegalese singer and guitarist who has been committed to various development challenges in Africa since 2003. He is known internationally as a music composer, a US Billboard chart No.1 artist, and a Grammy winner. Baaba Maal is also a passionate advocate for sustainable development and environmental action.
About Inna Modja
Inna Modja, a Malian actress, singer, and environmental activist, appeared in and wrote the music for the UNCCD’s 2019 Great Green Wall documentary. With a strong following in Francophone West Africa and France, Inna is a leader among the young people committed to changing the narrative of the Sahel.