New Delhi, Aug 27 : Union Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday announced that India will convert 50 lakh hectares of degraded land into fertile one by 2030.
The Minister was speaking at a curtain raiser event of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) of the UN Conference to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which India is hosting from September 2 to 13.
The UNCCDCOP event is to set the agenda on how to restore the one third area of the global degraded land to fertile land and assess the progress, which was decided in the last meeting in 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also address the UNCCDCOP-14, said the Minister.
"We have challenge that India has 29 percent of degraded land due to overexploitation, overgrazing, deforestation and poor irrigation practices. Even wind and flood make a good land to bad land. We have to restore the land. Our Ministry has set a target to restore 50 lakh hectares of land by 2030. So we will convert the degraded land to fertile land", said Mr Javadekar, along with his deputy Babul Supriyo and officials from the Ministry.
The Minister said that India will take over COP presidency from China for the next two years, 2019-2021. "India will lead in combating desertification for next two years, we will lead the world in the right direction and seek the cooperation of all countries. About 200 countries have confirmed their participation, more than 3000 delegates, UN Officials and 100 ministers will attend and 94 have confirmed already", Mr Javadekar said. The Environmental Minister also said that India is setting up a Centre of Excellence in Dehradun to aid in research and share knowledge among each other and take steps in combating desertification.
"Whatever be the 'New Delhi Declaration', there a common resolve among world countries to make positive effort and take it forward, and the world will follow what Delhi decides", the Minister stated.
According to data available with the Ministry, one third of the total geographic area of the world, ie, 40,000 lakh hectares is degraded land and in India 960 lakh hectares, ie, 29.32 percent of total geographic area.
"We are proud to host this mega event and we hope to make it a huge success", Mr Javadekar added. (UNI)