GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

Pledging to accelerate the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land globally by 2030, 196 countries, including India, on 21 May 2022 adopted 38 decisions to step up drought preparedness and give new political and financial impetus to help nations deal with devastating impacts of land/soil degradation.


  1. Strengthening land tenure for gender equity, involving women in land management and mobilisation of $2.5 billion to help future-proof supply chains while tackling deforestation and climate change are also part of those decisions, taken by these countries after two weeks of deliberations at the 15th session (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, a west African country.
  2. The COP was held against the backdrop of the latest UN findings which noted that 40% of all ice-free land globally is degraded and the world has already seen a 29% rise in droughts since 2000.
  3. It projected that three-quarters of the world’s population will be affected by drought by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.
  4. The countries have decided to establish an inter-governmental working group on drought for the 2022-24 period to look into possible options, including global policy instruments and regional policy frameworks, to support a shift from reactive to proactive drought management.
  5. India, on its part, has pledged to restore 26 million hectares of its degraded land by 2030 as part of ongoing efforts to achieve its ‘land degradation neutrality’ (LDN) targets.
  6. The LDN is a stage where the amount and quality of land resources remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems, factoring in degradation and restoration.
  7. Simply put, any country will not have net loss in terms of land degradation if it achieves LDN through restoration efforts.
  8. The previous conference (COP14) was held in India in September, 2019, when the country had raised its target of restoring degraded land from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares by 2030.