India takes over COP Presidency from China for two years

Will highlight leadership in navigating the land management agenda at global level

GN Bureau | September 3, 2019


#Environment   #UNCCD   #COP   #Prakash Javadekar  


India has expressed resounding commitment to finding long-term solutions for minimizing the impact of desertification and land degradation as it took over the presidency of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

India’s minister for environment, forest & climate change Prakash Javadekar and UNCCD executive secretary Ibrahim Thiaw inaugurated the 12-day 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to UNCCD at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, on Monday.

Addressing the inaugural session, Javadekar, the elected COP president for next two years, said, “India is privileged to be among the select few countries to have hosted the COP of all three Rio conventions on climate change, biodiversity and land. Through hosting COP 14, India will highlight its leadership in navigating the land management agenda at global level. It will also provide a stage to mainstream sustainable land management in country’s national development policies.”

Highlighting the importance of mobilization at the grassroots and strong policies in place, he stressed how the government is playing a key role in order to find and deliver solutions. Acknowledging the importance of holding an International conference of this nature, the environment minister said, “The key outcomes of COP 14 will facilitate in delivering convergence and synergies among the existing programmes in the field of agriculture, forestry, land, water management and poverty alleviation, which will cater the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focused vision of our prime minister’s agenda of Doubling the Farmer’s Income by 2022.”

He added, “Let us be optimistic. We must have faith in our action, I am optimistic about future and confident that if human actions have caused damage, further human action cam also restore the land ecology and environment.”

Thiaw said, “For the next two weeks we are tasked with making life better for the 3 and half billion affected by the degradation of three quarters of our land.”

Giving the Host country statement, minister of state for environment Babul Supriyo said, “India has been proactive in combating land degradation, desertification and drought. We have added more than 15,000 sq km of tree cover inside and outside forest areas in the last five years, which is a big success in land restoration.”

The opening session of the high level segment (HLS) on September 9 will be inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi who will address the gathering constituting the deputy secretary general of the United Nations, executive secretary of the UNCCD, several heads of states, environment ministers and heads of delegations from 197 country parties.

There will be many side events and exhibitions to demonstrate the country’s present and upcoming efforts to combat desertification and drought and to achieve land degradation neutrality from all over the world. The India Pavilion is also launched for showcasing the success stories and achievements of India depicting the nexus between land, water, energy, biodiversity, climate change, science and technology.

UNCCD was adopted in Paris on June 17, 1994 and ratified by 196 countries and the European Union. It is considered the “Mother convention” of the other two Rio conventions that emerged as a major outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The objective of the COP 14, along with the 14th meeting of Committee on Science and Technology (CST 14) and the 18th meeting of Committee to Review the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 18), is to discuss on various issues of land such as sustainable land management, reversing land degradation, mitigating drought, halting desertification, addressing sand and dust storms, linkages with gender, tenure, etc. and guide the Convention as global and national circumstances needs change.

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