India to restore 26 million ha of degraded land by 2030: PM Modi at climate meet
Degraded land spanning 26 million hectares (ha) in India will be restored by 2030, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the 14th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) being hosted by India in Noida.
About 960 lakh hectares or 29.23% of land area is undergoing degradation in India, according to Indian Space Research Organisation’s land atlas released in 2016.
PM Modi also announced that the Centre would establish a South-South Centre for Sustainable Land Restoration which will provide knowledge and training to all countries affected by land degradation.
“I am happy to state that India would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost-effective satellite and space technology,” Modi said.
Officials had earlier said that India is advanced in space technology, the knowledge may be utilized in setting up a satellite based planning, monitoring and evaluation system.
PM Modi reiterated his campaign to phase out single use plastic starting October 2. “The menace of plastic waste has rendered large tracts of land unproductive and unfit for use. The way ahead is behaviour change,” he said.
“Going forward, India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater south-south cooperation in addressing issues of climate change , biodiversity and land degradation,” Modi added during the opening of the high level segment of the conference which is to close on September 13.
In an emotive speech, Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary UNCCD, said the COP14 is crucial because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) land report flagged how land is among the biggest sinks available and after the COP14 UN will host the Climate Action Summit which will call on leaders to take urgent action on climate change. “Agreements we reach here will be crucial in protecting and managing land,” he said.
Achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 is among major resolutions to be made at the COP. Out of 196 countries which are parties to the UNCCD, 122 countries, including India, have already agreed to become land degradation neutral (LDN) by 2030, as specified in the goal 15.3 of the sustainable development goals.