Stating that taking care of the land that sustains us can help the fight against global warming, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Chnage, Shri Bhupender Yadav, today pitched for promoting lifestyles for environment. The Union Minister was addressing the opening plenary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Conference of Parties at its fifteenth session in Cote d’Ivoire.
Noting strongly that despite the declining condition of land, the World continues to go on with consumerism driven lifestyles and still expect our lands to keep giving, Shri Yadav said “It is imperative that we collectively move away from a consumption-oriented approach. The mindset of use and throw is deleterious for the planet”.
Speaking on the effect of Global warming on land Shri Yadav stated that protecting both people and the planet will not be possible without the developed countries taking the lead in drastic emissions reduction, as their responsibility for global warming is the highest both historically and in the present.
Speaking on the effects of the COVID pandemic, the Indian Environment Minister stated that it has compounded the challenge of fighting global warming as economic pressures have delayed or slowed climate action across the world, but at the same pointed out the finding of the IPCC Report of the Third Working Group, about the world exhausting its remaining carbon budget at a rapid pace, pushing us closer to the temperature limits of the Paris Agreement.
Speaking on India’s presidency of the COP since 2019, Shri Yadav informed that during the COP Presidency under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, India has made significant progress in its commitment to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, stating that major initiatives have been launched and existing programmes strengthened in meeting our Land Degradation Neutrality targets.
The Minister further stated that India has enhanced monitoring the health of its soils through the Soil Health Card Programme implemented throughout the country. “Over 229 million Soil Health Cards have been issued to farmers between 2015 and 2019 and this program has led to a decline of 8-10% in the use of chemical fertilizers and also raised productivity by 5-6%.”, said Shri Yadav
Further informing about the significant actions done under India’s presidency, Shri Yadav said that following the global call for the submission of nominations for World Restoration Flagships, the Government of India endorsed six restoration flagships that target the restoration of 12.5 million hectares of degraded lands.
“I would like to point out that India’s rural livelihood programmes have an underlying ethos of natural resource conservation and restoration. In recovering from the pandemic, we have used our livelihood programmes extensively to work towards land restoration. Building forward better and greener communities, especially for vulnerable groups, will have to be at the heart of the restoration agenda.”, stated the current COP president
Emphasizing that landscape restoration is more than planting trees, Shri Yadav said that it becomes essential that we recognize the power of local and indigenous knowledge with the close assistance of science and technology and must integrate community needs, priorities and expertise in all parts of the process.
Concluding the statement, Shri Yadav expressed hope that the collective commitments are transformed into action by all countries, and public, private and civil society actors, significantly increasing resources to address the global challenge of containing land degradation, and assured India’s continued support and readiness to contribute to the positive outcome of this conference.
The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 9 to 20 May 2022, will bring together leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society and other key stakeholders from around the world to drive progress in the future sustainable management of land and will explore links between land and other key sustainability issues.
These issues will be discussed during the high-level segment, including a Heads of States Summit, high-level roundtables and interactive dialogue sessions, as well as numerous other special and side events.
Drought, land restoration, and related enablers such as land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment are among the top items on the Conference agenda. Through its decisions adopted by UNCCD’s 197 Parties, COP15 is expected to galvanize sustainable solutions for land restoration and drought resilience, with a strong focus on future-proofing land use.