NEW DELHI: Prakash Javadekar, Union Environment Minister, Government of India, speaking ahead of the impending global conference on land desertification on August 27, at a curtain raiser event at National Media Centre, said that India’s degraded land, which is 29 per cent of India’s total geographical land, needs to be rejuvenated and would be India’s primary agenda of the summit. The minister said that India would be restoring 50 lakh hectares of land by the year 2030. India is set to host the Conference of Parties (COP) 14 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), with over 200 countries participating, from September 2-13 with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi likely to be in attendance.
The minister said, “One third of the world is facing the problem of land desertification. It is a challenge. Science has given us many new opportunities to restore land. The main challenge is that India has 29 per cent of degraded land. This degradation happens because of many factors like over exploitation, over grazing, over water logging and wind. Floods also make a good land into a bad land. We have to restore it. Therefore, we have taken a target to restore 50 lakh hectares of land by 2030. We will convert degraded land into fertile land.”
Further, the minister added that a center to develop techniques to rectify the desertification of India’s fertile land would soon be established at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun.
“India will lead in combating desertification for next the two years. We will lead the world in the right direction and seek cooperation of all countries. Nearly 200 countries have confirmed their participation. More than 3,000 delegates and 100 ministers are coming. All the UN officials will be there,” the environment minister said.