0537 GMT July 19, 2019
At present, 23 percent of the world’s geographical area is affected by degradation while India faces this problem in nearly 30 percent of its land due to multiple reasons including deforestation, The Times of India reported.
“It is like every minute we lose up to 23 hectares of land globally. Every day land degradation is costing humanity up to $1.3 billion,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The signing ceremony was attended by Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and environment secretary C K Mishra in New Delhi on Tuesday. The Conference (COP14) will be held at Greater Noida from September 2-13.
Nearly 200 countries will participate in the conference which is expected to review the progress made to control and reverse further loss of productive land from desertification, land degradation and drought.
“We will celebrate 25 years of UNCCD, of science and legislation and action on the ground by many countries including India. It is extremely important that in the next 25-30 years we align ourselves to achieve the global climate goals,” said Thiaw.
As part of its actions to check desertification, India had last month launched a pilot project to restore its degraded forests in five states — Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka — in a time-bound manner.
The project, launched in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will be scaled up to cover remaining states across the country in due course as part of India’s voluntary pledge to restore 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 and additional eight million hectares by 2030.
India had in 2015 voluntarily committed to restore 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 as part of its ‘Bonn Challenge’ pledge.
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.
Since land degradation is considered growing threats to peace and security in both developed and developing countries due to widespread loss of livelihoods, the member countries of the UNCCD have already committed to reverse the loss.
Situation is quite serious in India where a little less than one-third of its geographical area (328.7 million hectares) is affected by land degradation including desertification.