UN conference on desertification starts on high note, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address on Sept 9

New Delhi, Sep 2 (UNI) The 14th Conference of Parties (COP 14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) started with a high-note in Greater Noida on Monday, in which ‘Delhi Declaration’ will form the future course of action on land degradation. While addressing mediapersons after inaugurating the event, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, along with Ibrahim Thaiw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD expressed how mass awareness and public participation is the need of the hour.

“Be it climate change or desertification, human actions have a role in disturbing the balance of nature. Now people have realised and therefore we are saying that if human actions have caused some damage, positive human action will undo that and make a better world for future generations”, said Mr Javadekar. Mr Javadekar also informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the high-level segment meeting on September, 9, 2019. The UNCCD COP will continue till September 13.

The Minister said that land degradation is a local problem hence solution has to be found locally and expressed confidence that UNCCD is very important and expect some good outcomes which will be notified in Delhi declaration. Pointing to an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, Javadekar said 122 countries, among them Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa, which are among the largest and most populous nations on Earth, “have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving land degradation neutrality a national target.”

Echoing these sentiments, Mr. Ibrahim, drew attention to the warnings sounded by recent scientific assessments and the growing public alarm at the frequency of weather-related disasters such as drought, forest fires, flash floods and soil loss, but urged delegates to be mindful of the opportunities for change that are opening up, and take action. Mr. Ibrahim, thanked the Government of India for hosting the International Conference and said, “we are very fortunate to be here in India. This is undoubtedly going to be the largest COP ever organised by the UNCCD”.

An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organisations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 countries are expected.  They will take around 30 decisions with actions that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts.