PM Narendra Modi said that a holistic land and water strategy should be implemented to combat desertification. He was addressing the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Greater Noida, UP on Monday.
“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,” 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. I call upon the leadership of UNCCD to conceive a global water action agenda which is central to the Land Degradation Neutrality strategy,” he added.
Between 2015 to 2017, India’s tree and forest cover has increased by point eight million hectares. I am happy to share that only last week, funds amounting to nearly six billion US dollars have been released to the provincial governments in lieu of such diversion for development of forest lands
“My Government has launched a program to double the income of farmers by increasing crop yield through various measures. This includes land restoration and micro-irrigation. We have created “Jal Shakti Ministry” to address all water related important issues in totality,” PM said.
The COP, which began on September 2, has the participation of 196 countries and the European Union (EU) and about 8,000 people are attending it. Top officials from UN bodies, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), are also expected to attend the conference. The UNCCD was adopted in Paris in 1994 to be a legally binding document for fighting desertification through sustainable land management and has been ratified by 196 countries and the EU.
The COP is the main decision-making body for the convention and meets every two years to evaluate the progress and its future course.