Conference of Parties Current Affairs - 2019

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India to host COP-14 of UNCDD in September 2019

For the first time ever India will be hosting the 14th session of Conference of Parties (COP-14) of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019, to address the issue of land degradation and desertification.

Key Highlights

Presidency: India will be taking over the COP presidency from China for the next two years until the next COP is hosted in 2021.

Participants: At least 5,000 delegates from nearly 197 countries will be participating in the event which will be held between rom 29th August to 14th September 2019 at India Expo Mart Limited, Greater Noida.

Function: One of the primary functions of COP-14 is to review reports submitted by Conference of Parties to convention and detailing how they are carrying out their commitments.

India’s Land Degradation Problems: India faces a severe problem of land degradation (meaning the soil becoming unfit for cultivation). The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in its 2016 report found that over 29% of India’s land (in 2011-2013) was degraded which was 0.57% increase from year 2003-2005.

India’s Flagship Project:

Ahead of COP-14, Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a flagship project which is a part of a larger international initiative called ‘Bonn Challenge’.

It is aimed at enhancing India’s capacity for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). During the pilot phase of project (initial 3.5 years), it will be implemented in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka. Thus initially, the project will be aimed at developing and adapting best practices and monitoring protocols for country, and building capacity within 5 pilot States. Later, it will eventually be scaled up across the country through subsequent phases of project. The project will be implemented by MoEFCC in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

About Bonn Challenge

It is a global effort towards bringing 150 million hectares of world’s degraded and deforested land under restoration by the year 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

At COP-13 (2015) in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge and had committed towards restoring 13 million hectares (MH) of degraded and deforested land by year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares (MH) by 2030. India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.

Major UN Conventions

The United Nations has 3 major Conventions-

  1. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  2. UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  3. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)– It was established in 1994, and at present has 197 parties working towards maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity as well as mitigating effects of drought. It is the only legally binding international agreement that links environment and development issues to land agenda.

COP24: 24th Conference of Parties to UNFCCC begins Katowice, Poland

The 24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP-24) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began at Katowice, Poland. COP-24 is expected to finalise guidelines for implementation of Paris Agreement adopted in 2016.  Delegates from nearly 200 nations are participation in COP24. Indian delegation to this conference is led by Environment Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan.

India-COP24

India expects that COP-24 will be able to frame guidelines, which are pragmatic and gives due consideration to challenges and priorities of developing countries. India considers that outcome of COP-24 should be balanced, inclusive, and consistent with principles and provisions of Convention and its Paris Agreement.

India strongly supports objective of Paris Agreement to strengthen global response to threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius from pre- industrial revolution period. India considers it important as it is linked to issue of poverty eradication.

India will highlight its concern for climate change and reaffirm its commitments to finalisation of Paris Agreement Work Programme. This agreement also focuses on developing countries need to adapt to adverse impacts of climate change, in manner that it does not put additional burden on them.

India will be setting up pavilion to create awareness about India’s positive climate actions in various sectors of economy. The theme of Pavilion is ‘One World One Sun One Grid’ as highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during first assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) in October 2018.

UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

It is international environmental treaty negotiated at Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. It has near universal membership as it has 196 countries and European Union (EU) as its members. It is parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which was ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHGs) concentrations in atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

Conference of Parties (COP)

COP is the supreme decision-making body of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). ‎All States that are Parties to UNFCCC are represented at COP. ‎At COP, all parties review implementation of Convention and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of Convention.