India pledges to restore 50 lakh hectares of degraded land by 2030

  1. India will be hosting the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) from 2-13 September 2019 at Greater Noida, NCR. India is the president of the CoP for next two years under UNCCD
  2. At its Curtain Raiser Press Conference, Union Environment Minister has announced that India pledges to restore 5mn hectares of degraded land by 2030. This target will be a part of India’s voluntary commitment to the Bonn Challenge. Under the challenge, India has pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and additional 8 million hectares by 2030.
  3. 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. It was launched in 2011 by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and later endorsed and extended by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.
  4. The Environment Minister further stated that there would be a ‘New Delhi Declaration’ at the end of CoP14. The declaration would be a common resolve of 196 countries on how to stop land from being degraded and how to quickly restore existing degraded land.
  5. India will also set up a centre of excellence at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. It will act as a nodal centre for research on issues relating to solving problems of land degradation, drought and desertification.
  6. UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. It was established in 1994.
  7. The Convention entered into force in December 1996. It is one of the three Rio Conventions along with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  8. UNCCD seeks to work towards combating desertification, maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity and mitigating the effects of drought.