On September 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed 14th session of the COP to the UN convention to combat desertification. for the UN Combat Desertification. To understand the significance of India presiding over such a convention, you may read our detailed article Combating Land Degradation – India Presiding COP 14 of UNCCD.
Among many other things, he announced that India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status from 21 Million Hectares to 26 Million Hectares between now and 2030. At a time when deforestation and land degradation have become a center of the discussion, is this announcement looks too optimistic? Has this assertion stood on reasoning or just a wishful thinking?
India’s Action Against Deforestation and Land Degradation
Fact check reveals that India does have a track record in this regard which enables it to raise the target higher. Many figures in this regard have figured in the PM’s address itself. Various news reports also back India’s progress in addressing land degradation and increase forest cover. Let’s take a look at all those facts.
- As PM Modi pointed out, between 2015 to 2017 India’s tree and forest cover had been increased by 0.8 Million Hectares
- More than 21 crore soil health cards have been distributed, which acts as a major instrument to prevent land degradation by enabling farmers to grow right type of crops, fertilisers, and use the right quantity of water.
- This will further be strengthened by the initiatives like ‘per drop, more crop’ and the efforts underway by the Jal Shakti Ministry.
Media reports in recent times have also reflected that the efforts of India in this regard is bearing fruits.
At Global Scale
- India’s initiatives to combat desertification do not confine itself to the domestic level. PM Modi has said in the convention that,
- India offers support to those countries who may like to understand and adopt some of the LDN (Land Degradation Neutrality) Strategies that have succeeded in India.
- India takes pride in using remote sensing and space technology for multiple applications including land restoration. India would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies, through cost-effective satellite and space technology.
- To further facilitate induction of technology to land degradation issues, India would set up a center for excellence in India at the Indian Council for Forest Research and Education. This will actively engage, to promote South-South cooperation with those who wish to access knowledge, technology and training of manpower to address land degradation related issues.
The earlier stance that India took with regard to climate change also brings credibility to the above-mentioned announcements of India.
Although countries like the United States have backed out of the Paris climate change agreement, India ratified the agreement in October 2016. It also took lead to introduce a new concept like ‘climate justice’, which meant to ensure the flow of finance from developed countries to lower-income economies. You may read on this topic in our earlier article On Climate Change, India Already Appears to be in a Leadership Position.
Time and again, this government and the Prime Minister have asserted their commitment to eliminate the use of single-use plastics, the step that will contribute immensely to contain land degradation. You may read about this in detail, in our previous article India’s Resolve Against the Use of Single-use Plastics – How the Effort is Different from Others
Thus, it is evident that India is leading by example in its fight against land degradation with consistent progress.