India presided over the 14th Conference of Parties of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, India contributed significantly to bringing nations together for slowing and reversing further land degradation, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav said on Monday.

Yadav is leading the Indian delegation at the 15th conference of the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD COP15), which is taking place from May 9-20. India was the president of UNCCD COP14.

The Indian delegation arrived in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, where the meet is being held, on Monday night.

The meeting's major goal is to bring together leaders from governments, the corporate sector, civil society, and other important stakeholders from across the world to push progress in the future sustainable management of land, as well as to examine linkages between land and other key sustainability challenges.

On Twitter, Yadav wrote, “Landed in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire to attend UNCCD (United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification) COP15. Despite the pandemic, India as president of @UNCCD COP14 contributed significantly to bringing nations together for halting further land degradation.”

On the sidelines of UNCCD, he met with UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Andrea Meza Murillo and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. They talked about a variety of topics, from land degradation to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Drought, land restoration, and associated enablers including land rights, gender equality, and youth empowerment are among the conference's major priorities, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said on Tuesday.

COP15 is intended to galvanize sustainable solutions for land restoration and drought resilience through resolutions made by the UNCCD's 197 Parties, with a significant focus on future-proofing land usage, the ministry added.

A preliminary report on effective policy and implementation strategies for combating drought under the (UNCCD) has been drafted and will be discussed during the current session of the COP15 conference, as mandated by decision 23/COP.14.

India had hosted the 14th session of Conference of Parties of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification from September 2-13, 2019, at New Delhi and is the current president of the same.

At COP 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that “India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status, from twenty-one million hectares to twenty-six million hectares between now and 2030”.

Prime Minister Modi had then stated that, “…this will be focused on restoring land productivity and ecosystem services of 26 million hectares of most degraded and vulnerable land, with emphasis on the degraded agricultural, forest and other wastelands by adopting a landscape restoration approach.”

A High-level Dialogue of United Nations General Assembly held on June 14, 2021 on desertification, land degradation and drought, was addressed by Prime Minister Modi wherein he highlighted the success stories and initiatives taken by India to combat land degradation.

In another significant development during India’s presidency, G-20 leaders recognizing the importance of combating land degradation and creating new carbon sinks, put up an aspirational goal to collectively plant 1 trillion trees, urging other countries to join forces with G20 to reach this global goal by 2030, the the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said.