The country will take lead to combat desertification and move the world in a positive direction: Javadekar
GN Bureau | August 28, 2019
India has pledged to convert nearly 50 lakh hectares of degraded land into fertile land in 10 years, union minister for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javadekar has said.
He was addressing a curtain-raiser press meet ahead of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), to be held at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida during September 2-13. “Desertification is a worldwide problem directly affecting 250 million people and a third of the earth’s land surface. To fight this menace, India will convert degraded land of nearly 50 lakh hectares to fertile land in next 10 years. It will implement provisions of New Delhi Declaration which is to be adopted at the end of conference and a Centre for Excellence will be established at Dehradun,” he said on Tuesday.
The minister also expressed India’s continued commitment to stay on track on a sustainable path to land use and land management. “It is our collective responsibility to do our duty towards protecting the environment and ensuring that there is no harmful impact on it,” said Javadekar. Elaborating on India’s key role as the president of UNCCD COP for the next two years, he said: “It is the common resolve of the world to combat desertification and India will lead from the front and move the world in a positive direction, taking into cognizance the support of other countries.”
Delegates from 196 countries, including scientists and representatives of national and local governments, global business leaders, NGOs, gender-based organisations, youth groups, journalists, and faith and community groups, will share their expertise and give an overview to achieve their goals at the upcoming conference.
The Convention, which came in force in December 1996, is one of the three ‘Rio Conventions’, along with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). India became a signatory to UNCCD on October 14, 1994 and ratified it on December 17, 1996. The main objective of the convention is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, involving long-term integrated strategies that focus simultaneously, in affected areas, on improved productivity of land, and the rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources, leading to improved living conditions, in particular at the community level.
The Convention’s 197 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.
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