A UN convention to combat desertification kicked off on 2 September 2019 at Greater Noida in which countries are expected to announce their targets for land restoration and agree on measures to address emerging threats including sand and dust storms and droughts.
The 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) opened on 2 September 2019. Around 196 countries and 94 environment ministers are taking part in the mega event, which is being hosted by India. India took over the Presidency of the COP from China.
- India commits to proactive global cooperation. Climate change is a global problem with global impact. Here, in degradation, the problem becomes local and solutions have to be found locally. But international experience can be shared to help various countries.
- Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD, said this conference is going to be the largest ever with nearly 8,000 registered participants.
- This is the largest ever COP organised by UNCCD. We are really excited as it is the 25th anniversary of UNCCD.
- Land feeds people. It is extremely important to keep feeding the world but what to do to keep doing so. Unfortunately we have degraded 25 per cent of land globally which is unusable. Using the human intelligence and technology we must restore the land, Thiaw said.
- The COP will go on till September 13 during which the ministers are expected to announce their targets for land restoration and agree on measures to address the related emerging threats of forced migration, sand and dust storms, and on actions to strengthen resilience to droughts.
- During the last COP in 2017 in China, countries had agreed on a 12-year strategy to contain runaway land degradation that is threatening global food and water supply.
- The Conference is expected to agree on about 30 decisions to ramp up and elaborate further actions needed on the ground to ensure that the Convention’s goals for 2018-2030 are achieved.
- These are to improve the lives of the populations affected by desertification and land degradation and to improve the affected ecosystems, to mitigate the effects of drought and to mobilize sufficient resources to achieve these goals, and ensure the outcomes benefit all people, everywhere.
About the UNCCD
- Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
- The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
- The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build.