Millennium Post

PM raises India's target to restore degraded land to 26 mn hectares

PM raises Indias target to restore degraded land to 26 mn hectares

Greater Noida: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that India would raise its target for restoring degraded land from 21 million hectare to 26 million hectare by 2030.

Days before the UN convention commenced, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had announced that India was aiming to restore 50 lakh hectare of its degraded land by 2030.

Speaking at the high level segment at the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Modi said between 2015 and 2017, India's tree and forest cover increased by 0.8 million hectares.

"India looks forward to making effective contribution as we take over COP presidency for two years. We have also increased our tree cover between 2015-17 by 0.8 million hectares.

"I would like to announce that India will raise its ambition of the total area that will be restored from its land degradation status -- from 21 million hectare to 26 million hectare between now and 2030," the prime minister said.

The opening session of the segment was also addressed by Javadekar, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J Mohammad, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw and Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Addressing nearly 200 nations, 70 environment ministers and over 8,000 participants from across the globe, Modi urged the world to stop using single-use plastic which was a menace for the land and environment.

"Another form of land degradation, which if not prevented, would become impossible to reverse. This is the menace of plastic waste. Apart from having adverse health implications, this is going to render land unproductive and unfit for agriculture. "My government has announced that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years. I believe time has come for even the world to say goodbye to single-use plastic," Modi said.

In his address, Modi noted that climate change is also leading to land degradation of various kinds, ranging from a rise in sea levels and wave action, erratic rainfall and storms, and sand storms caused by hot temperatures.

"When we address degraded lands, we also address water scarcity. Augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run-off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy," he said.

Javadekar, the new COP President, took to the podium saying India and its prime minister are fully committed towards achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). "India's prime minister is fully committed towards achieving sustainable development goals. We have already achieved half the target of installing 175 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by 2022. The PM promoted solar alliance which is working fine. We have promoted e-vehicles, and increased our green cover as well," Javadekar said.

Highlighting the efforts being made towards combating land degradation and climate change, Modi said India takes pride in using remote sensing and space technology for multiple applications, including land restoration and it will be happy to help friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost effective satellite technology.

"We in India take pride in using space technology in multiple actions including land degradation and we'll be happy to help other countries to combat it through cost effective space technology," he said.

It was also announced that India will setup a global technical support institute for the member countries of the UNCCD for their

capacity building and support regarding the Land Degradation Neutrality.

Land degradation neutrality has been defined by the parties to UNCCD as a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.

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