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14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and report on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC)

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    10th Sep, 2019

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)’s Committee on Science and Technology (CST) on September 3, 2019, released its report on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) in New Delhi.

Context

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)’s Committee on Science and Technology (CST) on September 3, 2019, released its report on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) in New Delhi.

About:

  • The report titled as “Realising the Carbon Benefits of Sustainable Land Management Practices: Guidelines for Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon in the Context of Land Degradation Neutrality Planning and Monitoring”, emphasises the importance of SOC in preventing land degradation and desertification.

What is Soil Organic carbon (SOC)?

  • Soil organic carbon (SOC) comes from plants, animals, microbes, leaves and wood. It is mostly found in the first metre layer of the soil.
  • There are many conditions like temperature, rainfall, vegetation, soil management and land-use change and processes that determine the changes in SOC content.

Benefits of Soil Organic carbon (SOC):

  • SOC improves soil health, agricultural yield and reduces the need for chemicals.
  • Small increases of SOC over very large areas significantly reduce net carbon dioxide emissions from agriculture. So SOC tries to mitigate climate change by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)

  • It is defined as a state where the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems
  • It is a unique approach that counterbalances the expected loss of productive land with the recovery of degraded areas. It strategically places the measures to conserve, sustainably manage and restore land in the context of land use planning.
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 has the component related to land degradation which states: “By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.” 
  • India’s target for LDN is 30 million hectares by 2030.

About UNCCD:

  • Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
  • The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
  • The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.
  • The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Frameworkis the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build.
  • The UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.
  • The UNCCD collaborates closely with the other two Rio Conventions; the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with an integrated approach and the best possible use of natural resources.

Conference of Parties (COP):

  • The COP was established by the Convention as the supreme decision-making body.
  • It comprises ratifying governments and regional economic integration organizations, such as the European Union.
  • Till now COP had held thirteen sessions and 14th session will be held in India.
  • It has been meeting biennially since 2001.

Conference of Parties (COP)

Country

Year

COP 1

Rome, Italy

1997

COP 2

Dakar, Senegal

1998

COP 3

Recife, Brazil

1999

COP 4

Bonn, Germany

2000

COP 5

Geneva, Switzerland

2001

COP 6

Havana, Cuba

2003

COP 7

Nairobi, Kenya

2005

COP 8

Madrid, Spain

2007

COP 9

Buenos Aires, Argentina

2009

COP 10

Changwon, South Korea

2011

COP 11

Windhoek, Namibia

2013

COP 12

Ankara, Turkey

2015

COP 13

Ordos, China

2017

COP 14

New Delhi, India

2019

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