United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 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.

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17 June: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCDD) is being observed globally on 17 June 2019. According to United Nation (UN), Desertification means degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas and that Desertification does not refer to expansion of existing deserts.

Key Highlights

Background: WDCDD was proclaimed on 30 January 1995 by United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) resolution A/RES/49/115, after the day when United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was drafted. In 2019, UNCCD also celebrates 25 years of progress made by countries on sustainable land management.

Theme for year 2019 is- Let’s Grow the Future Together, which reflects on 25 years of progress and envisioning next 25 years.

Objective: The day is observed every year to promote public awareness about presence of desertification and drought, highlighting methods of preventing desertification and also about international efforts to combat desertification.

Concern: As per United Nation (UN), world is losing 24 billion tons of fertile soil ever year and  National Domestic Product (NDP) in developing countries is reduced by up to 8 % annually due to dryland degradation.

Siginificance: WDCDD is a unique occasion that serves as a reminder global community that desertification can be effectively tackled and that solutions are possible with tools such as strengthening community participation and cooperation at all levels.

India’s efforts towards Combating Desertification

Various initiatives by government for tackling desertification issue includes- Per Drop More Crops (for proper water management), Soil Health Card Scheme and Neem Coated Urea for farmers that will help increase the area of cultivated land.

In last 5 years forest cover in India has increased and the government is committed towards improving it further as well for working towards betterment of farmer and environment protection.

India seeks to set an example in combating desertification and also shows readiness to cooperate with world in this direction.

Month: Categories: Events & Observances

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