Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said we as a country make targets not under any global pressure but for our own country’s real sustainable development, and as in the past India will play a leadership role and will lead by example in combating desertification. Speaking at an event in New Delhi on the occasion of World Day to combat desertification and drought Javadekar announced that India will be hosting the fourteenth session of Conference of Parties (COP – 14) from 29th August – 14th September 2019.
The Minister further highlighted that with about 30% of country’s total geographical area being affected by land degradation; India has high stakes and stands strongly committed to the Convention. Javadekar said that various schemes have been launched by the Government of India such as: Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Soil Health Card Scheme, Soil Health Management Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PKSY), Per Drop More Crop, , etc. which are helping to reduce land degradation. The Union Minister also unveiled the logo of COP-14 on the occasion.
CEO , NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant who was also present on the occasion said that the World Day to combat desertification is a unique occasion to remind global community that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri C.K. Mishra said that The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) in 2019 will retrospect and celebrate the past years of progress made by India on sustainable land management.
The Union Minister also launched a flagship project on enhancing capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in India, through a pilot phase of 3.5 years implemented in the States of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka. The project will aim to develop and adapt best practices and monitoring protocols for the Indian states and build capacity within the five pilot states on FLR and Bonn Challenge. This will be eventually scaled up across the country through subsequent phases of the project.
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.At the UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and additional 8 million hectares by 2030. India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.
United Nations has 3 Rio Conventions namely, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the only legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” to promote public awareness and the implementation of the UNCCD in the desertification affected countries.
India is hosting the Fourteenth session of Conference of Parties (COP – 14) from 29th August – 14th September 2019 at India Expo Mart Limited, Greater Noida. One of the primary functions of the COP is to review reports submitted by the Country Parties detailing how they are carrying out their commitments. India will take-over the COP presidency from China for two years until the next COP is hosted in 2021.
Over 5,000 representatives from over 197 countries drawn from national, regional and local governments, science and research communities, the private sector, international and non-governmental organizations and all forms media will address the issue of combating desertification, land degradation and drought during the two-week event.