India to host UN meet on land degradation in September

Part of Prelims and mains GS III Environment and ecology

In news

  • India for the first time will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019.
  • It will see participation from at least 5,000 delegates from nearly 197 countries and will be held between September 2 and 14 in Delhi
  • One of the primary functions of the COP is to review reports submitted by the Country Parties, detailing how they are carrying out their commitments. India will takeover the COP presidency from China for two years until the next COP in 2021.

India and UNCCD

Ahead of the COP-14, India launched a flagship project, part of a larger international initiative called the Bonn Challenge, to enhance India’s capacity for forest landscape restoration (FLR).

It will be implemented during a pilot phase of three-and-a-half years in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka. The project will aim to develop and adapt the best practices and monitoring protocols for the country, and build capacity within the five pilot States. This will eventually be scaled up across the country

India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation. A 2016 report by the Indian Space Research Organisation found that about 29% of India’s land (in 2011-13) was degraded, this being a 0.57% increase from 2003-05.

At the previous edition of the COP, India had committed to restore 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.

The Bonn Challenge

The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.

The three sister conventions

The United Nations has three major Conventions: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Established in 1994, the UNCCD is the only legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda.

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