PM to address UN conference in September to combat desertification

  1. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019. India, for the first time will be hosting UNCCD COP at Greater Noida from September 2-13.
  2. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. It was established in 1994. It has 197 parties.
  3. UNCCD seeks to work towards maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity and mitigating the effects of drought.
  4. The COP is the supreme decision-making body of a Convention. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention.
  5. COP 14 of the UNCCD will focus on how to restore 2 billion hectares of degraded land and assess the progress made in this direction since COP13 held in 2017.
  6. India is reeling under severe problem of land degradation. A 2016 report by the Indian Space Research Organisation found that about 29% of India’s land (in 2011-13) was degraded.
  7. Recently, the Environment Ministry has launched a flagship project on enhancing capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in India. There will be a pilot phase of 3.5 years implemented in the States of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka.
  8. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has partnered with The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the project.
  9. It aims 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.