Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday highlighted India’s commitment to restore degraded land while speaking at the United Nations General Assembly. He was speaking in his capacity as the President of the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Joining the “UN High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought” virtually, he said, “We are on track to achieve our national commitment of land degradation neutrality. We are also working towards restoring twenty-six million hectares of degraded land by 2030.”
“This would contribute to India’s commitment to achieve an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of Carbon-di-oxide equivalent,” he added.
Desertification, Land Degradation are key global issues of concern as part of the climate change crisis. India is establishing a Centre of Excellence to promote a scientific approach towards land degradation issues.
The PM pointed out, “In India, over the last ten years, around three million hectares of forest cover had been added. This has enhanced the combined forest cover to almost one-fourth of the country’s total area.”
New Delhi is also assisting fellow developing countries to develop land restoration strategies as part of South-South Cooperation. Land degradation affects over two-thirds of the world today. During the address, PM Pointed out how in the Banni region in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, land restoration is done by developing grasslands. This has not only helped in “achieving land degradation neutrality” but also supports pastoral activities and livelihood by promoting animal husbandry.
“It is mankind’s collective responsibility to reverse the damage to land caused by human activity”, PM said while terming leaving a “health planet for our future generations” a “sacred duty”.