United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Mr./Ms. Chairperson,
Land use related challenges are becoming more and more important and visible. Let me
give the example of The Netherlands which has a very high population density and land
serves multiple functions. It is used for agriculture, nature, recreation and living. The
pressure on land is high and we need to use our land in an efficient and sustainable
way. We follow a process of careful planning which leads to the enactment of legislation
to ensure sustainable land use. In the planning process we engage owners, users and
inhabitants of rural areas, interest groups and NGOs through multi-stakeholder
dialogues. We aim for land planning that is multi-sectoral and include innovative
solutions for rural areas, taking into account natural water systems and infrastructure,
cultural historical aspects and living and working conditions..
Today, the growing demand for biomass-based energy can also lead to increased
pressure on land. We need to ensure that the production of biomass for energy
production is sustainable in order to mitigate the associated risks. First, we need to
develop sustainability principles that target the effects at plantation leveL. Second, there
is a need to monitor and gain more information on the effects of biomass production for
energy purposes at the macro level as well as the effects on land use and food
production. Investments in so-called 'second generation' bio fuels need to be stepped up
as these bio fuels generally have a higher C02 saving potential and cause less
competition for land. The Netherlands is actively involved in these two areas.
If we speak about land it is not enough to focus on the products deriving from land. We
also need to look at who owns the land and who is involved in manaqinq and usinq the
land. In this respect, I would like to highlight the important role of women in agriculture,
food production, natural resource management and rural development. The role of
women is evident as they are for example main producers of staple crops, including rice,
maize and wheat. At the same time, women own less then 5 % of the world's land.
Women's independent equal right to and control over land can enhance food security
and economic opportunities. In this context, I would like to stress the importance of
implementing at the national level the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the
Beijing Platform of Action. In doing so, States should not only enact and enforce a legal
framework prohibiting all discrimination against women but should also take all
necessary measures to lift obstacles that prevent women's effective enjoyment of their
land rights and their rights to other natural resources.
Thank you Mr./Ms. Chairperson