United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Land Heroes Campaign 2023

Deadline: 15th of October, 2023

The UNCCD Land Heroes program acknowledges and promotes young people and youth-led/based groups that are making a difference in the fight against desertification, land degradation, and drought. We increase awareness, share success stories, and empower youth as change agents in sustainable land management through online participation, involving them in the convention’s implementation.

#LandHeroes, a component of the Land for Life Programme, highlights young people’s commitment to sustainable land management. Through social media, films, blogs, and our dedicated website, these organizations and people share transformational journeys, magnifying their contributions and honoring both young men and women as important agents for good change. Join us in honoring these extraordinary land champions.


The Land Heroes campaign aims to identify, celebrate, and support youth aged 18-35 engaged in sustainable land management, raising awareness of land’s link to biodiversity and climate. By sharing stories, we inspire change, unite youth, provide mentorship, and showcase the transformative power of collective efforts.


  • Raise awareness of land’s connection to biodiversity and climate
  • Spotlight diverse ways youth positively impact the land
  • Share inspiring stories showcasing collective progress
  • Empower youth to spread campaign messages and take action
  • Provide mentorship in sustainable land management
  • Share success stories to foster understanding and awareness


  • Grant of US$1,000 for top finalists in each category
  • Attendance at high-level UNCCD meetings
  • Publicity and recognition through interviews, media, and social platforms
  • Mentorship for leadership, communication, and project management
  • Opportunities to support UNCCD through advocacy, workshops, and content creation
  • Participation in challenges and innovation forums
  • Coordination with other Land Heroes for workshops and collaborative projects


  1. Drought resilience:
    • Early warning systems: Implementing proactive measures to anticipate and respond to drought conditions effectively.
    • Mitigating the effects of drought: Innovative strategies for drought impact mitigation and ensure water availability.
    • Adopting scalable and inclusive approaches: Promoting strategies that can be expanded to larger scales and inclusive of vulnerable populations to enhance drought resilience.
  2. Land restoration:
    • Large-scale land restoration: Leadership in restoring degraded land on a large scale, contributing to ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation.
    • Community-level land restoration: Impactful initiatives restoring degraded land at the community level, enhancing livelihoods and resilience.
  3. Inclusivity and equality:
    • Gender equality and women’s empowerment: Initiatives promoting gender equality in land ownership, decision-making, and conservation efforts
    • Social equity: Initiatives promoting poverty eradication, social cohesion, etc.
    • Indigenous knowledge: Amplifying indigenous knowledge and practices, recognizing their vital role in sustainable land management
  4. Science and innovation:
    • Innovation: Innovative approaches in sustainable land management
    • Technology: Harnessing technology for land monitoring, data analysis, and knowledge-sharing on sustainable practices
    • Science and Research: Contributions to scientific research and evidence-based decision-making in land management


  1. Youth engagement (18-35) in addressing land challenges
  2. Role models inspiring peers through dedication
  3. Inspirational leadership mobilizing youth for collective responsibility
  4. Passionate and dedicated to combating desertification and degradation
  5. Vision for change: Clear understanding and innovative strategies
  6. Collaboration with stakeholders for effective partnerships
  7. Strong communication: Effective online presence to inspire action


  • 15 August 2023: Launch call for submissions
  • 15 October 2023: Submission deadline
  • November 2023: Jury evaluation
  • December 2023: Winner’s announcement
  • June 2024: Desertification and Drought Day
  • December 2024: Participation at COP16

Click here to apply

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