November 29, 2011

Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes Appointed Drylands Ambassador

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to
Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Luc Gnacadja, has named Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011, as the
Drylands Ambassador of the Convention.
Drylands Ambassadors are appointed to take a lead in raising international awareness of land degradation,
its causes and possible solutions.
“Miss Lopes comes from the African region where desertification, meaning the degradation of the land in
the dryland areas, is the foremost environmental challenge. Part of her home country of Angola is
threatened by desertification,” said Mr Gnacadja during the announcement.
Recent studies show that up to 2 billion hectares of degraded land and forest globally have the potential
for restoration. “Land degradation entrenches affected populations into poverty, food insecurity and
hunger and corrodes the three pillars of sustainable development. Achieving the change needed will take
strong advocacy and outreach.
Accepting the appointment, Miss Lopes said: "I am humbled and honored to be called upon to serve as a
Drylands Ambassador for the Convention. This is an opportunity for me to be another voice for attending
to land degradation and desertification throughout the world in order to create awareness on this
important policy issue. By sharing knowledge and working together, we can help secure the health and
productivity of all the drylands.”

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