The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has appointed Baaba Maal and Inna Modja as its Goodwill Ambassadors.
Both have previously served as UNCCD Land Ambassadors, helping the Convention raise awareness of land degradation, desertification and drought with their fans around the world.
In this new designation, the duo will act as honourary spokespeople, playing a crucial role in raising awareness and advocating for the objectives of the Convention with youth, women, children and affected communities.
The UNCCD hopes the new Goodwill Ambassadors will inspire the public and decision-makers to take practical actions and drive policies to achieve the Convention’s mission to promote sustainable land stewardship. They will also help advance efforts to reduce poverty and promote gender equality, especially among climate-vulnerable, land-dependent populations.
The UNCCD was set up in 1994 in response to the global challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought. The Convention works with its 197 Parties to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030, a global target enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals. Up to 40 per cent of land worldwide is currently degraded, with dire consequences for our climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. Droughts are up 29 per cent since 2000, driven by both climate change and land degradation.
Ibrahim Thiaw, Under-Secretary-General and UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “I am honoured that Baaba Maal and Inna Modja have agreed to take on the important role of UNCCD Goodwill Ambassadors. With their global influence and commitment to sustainability, these outstanding artists will play a crucial role in raising awareness around the importance of combatting desertification, land degradation and drought.
“I am confident that their appointment will significantly strengthen our efforts to mitigate today’s impacts of land degradation and advance tomorrow’s land stewardship to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.”
Baaba Maal, the Grammy-Award-winning Senegalese singer who produced music for “Wakanda Forever” movie, said: “I’m proud to be a UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador, using my music and influence to fight against 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 land, supporting climate-vulnerable communities, and empowering women to create a better world for all.”
Inna Modja, the Malian singer, actress and Sahel activist, said: “I am deeply honoured to serve as a UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador. As a woman, artist, and climate and social justice activist, I believe it’s vital to empower women and youth and promote gender equality in the fight against desertification and land degradation. Together, we can create a brighter, sustainable future.”