India is hosting the 14th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in New Delhi today. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the UN and voiced the plans that the Indian government will undertake to tackle the larger problems of climate change due to rapid deforestation, and industrialization. The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Investing in Land, Unlocking Opportunities’. India will also ban single-use plastic as announced by Modi.
The Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, Ibrahim Thiaw made it possible for India to host this convention here in Noida. Indian PM Modi began his speech by addressing the issue of land degradation and how to combat the degradation taking effective measures.
Modi made it very clear that India wants to make an effective contribution to tackle the problems of land degradation, and in broader terms, to tackle the climate change which appears to be the need of the hour.
Modi also hoped that the initiative taken by India would also encourage other countries to take preventive measures in addressing climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation. Two-third countries of the world are facing the life-threatening effects of land degradation, and also of a water crisis which is a by-product of land degradation.
The UNCCD had initiated a global water action agenda which proved itself to be central to land degradation neutrality agenda. In support of it, Modi claims that India has increased its tree and forest cover between the years 2015 and 2017.
The Indian government had been able to increase the tree cover by 0.8 million hectares over the two years. According to Modi, the land used for industrial development have to be compensated by the equal amount of aforestation.
Last week, the government released funds amounting to 6 billion USD for the development of the forest lands. The Jal Shakti Ministry would address the problems of the water crisis.
Another major announcement in the speech is the ban of single-use plastic. Modi promises that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years, and substitutes for those plastic bags will also be issued. He also announced that India is looking forward to increasing the total area of restored land from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares between now and 2030.