The UN Conference of Parties, which meets every two years, has commenced in New Delhi, the COP discusses ways and means forward to address global land degradation.
The 14th United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) to combat desertification started on September 2, in New Delhi and is expected to conclude on September 13. India has taken over the presidency of the COP for two years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the convention, with senior ministers from around 70 countries are expected to participate at that session.
In the inaugural session of the convention the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mr. Javadekar said, “If human actions have created the problems of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, it is the strong intent, technology and intellect that will make a difference.”
The COP, which meets in every two years, “discusses ways and means forward to address global land degradation. One in four hectares of arable land is considered unusable due to unsustainable land management. These have put nearly 3.2 billion people in the world at risk.” Prior to the conference, Mr. Javadekar said “India had committed to rejuvenate 50 lakh hectares (5 million) of degraded land between 2021 and 2030.”
India has been facing the problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation. About 29 per cent or about 96.4 million hectares of land are considered degraded. According to Executive Secretary of the Convention Ibrahim Thiaw, “More than 70 countries have robust national drought plans, compared to just three countries only 4 years ago. The agenda shows that governments have come to this COP ready to find solutions to difficult problems.”
As per the release by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) stated, “Today, over a million species are on the verge of extinction, threatening global food security, largely due to habitat loss and land degradation. Three out of every 4 hectares of land have been altered from their natural states and the productivity of about 1 in every 4 hectares of land is declining. Poor land health is on the rise and is impacting 3.2 billion people all over the world. Land degradation working in tandem with climate change and biodiversity loss may force up to 700 million people to migrate by 2050.”
It further stated that “UNCCD is reducing these impacts by promoting investment in the land to unlock opportunities for change, deliver hope and action, and help build a more sustainable path for the future.”
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