Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Sept 9 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday stressed on India's role in promoting South-South Cooperation on the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) while addressing 196 countries, 5000 representatives and dignitaries.
"Going forward, India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater South-South cooperation in addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation," Prime Minister Modi said.
He added, "It is widely accepted that the world is facing the negative impact of climate change. Climate change is also leading to land degradation of various kinds be it due to rise in sea levels and wave action, erratic rainfall and storms, and sand storms caused by hot temperatures."
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted in Paris on June 17, 1994 and ratified by 196 countries and the European Union. India ratified the UNCCD Convention on December 17, 1996.
This convention can be called as "Mother convention" of the other two Rio Conventions that emerged as a major outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit viz. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
While laying importance on achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), the Prime Minister said that India will increase its target from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares by 2030.
While speaking on the importance of water conservation, he said "I call upon the leadership of UNCCD to conceive a global water action agenda which is central to the Land Degradation Neutrality strategy."
He stated that India is focusing on Zero budget natural farming. "We have also introduced a scheme to determine the soil quality of each of the farms and are issuing soil health cards to farmers. This enables them to grow right type of crops, fertilizers and use the right quantity of water," he said.
Between 2015 and 2017, India's tree and forest cover has increased by 0.8 million hectares, the Prime Minister said.
On single-use plastic, the Prime Minister said, "I would like to draw your attention to another form of land degradation which if not prevented would be impossible to reverse. This is the menace of plastic waste. Apart from having adverse health implications, this is going to render lands unproductive and unfit for agriculture. My Government has announced that India will put an end to single-use plastic in the coming years. I believe the time has come for even the world to say good-bye to single-use plastic."
While concluding his speech, the Prime Minister said, "India would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost-effective satellite and space technology."
He added, "I understand that an ambitious New Delhi Declaration is being considered. We are all aware that the Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030 of which attainment of LDN is also a part.
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