COP-14 of UNCCD
Ecology and Environment
25th Jun, 2019
For the first time ever India will be hosting the 14th session of Conference of Parties (COP-14) of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019, to address the issue of land degradation and desertification.
Key Highlights of COP-14
- Presidency: India will be taking over the COP presidency from China for the next two years until the next COP is hosted in 2021.
- Participants: At least 5,000 delegates from nearly 197 countries will be participating in the event which will be held between rom 29th August to 14th September 2019 at India Expo Mart Limited, Greater Noida.
- Function: One of the primary functions of COP-14 is to review reports submitted by Conference of Parties to convention and detailing how they are carrying out their commitments.
- India’s Land Degradation Problems: India faces a severe problem of land degradation (meaning the soil becoming unfit for cultivation). The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in its 2016 report found that over 29% of India’s land (in 2011-2013) was degraded which was 0.57% increase from year 2003-2005.
India’s Flagship Project:
- Ahead of COP-14, Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a flagship project which is a part of a larger international initiative called ‘Bonn Challenge’.
- It is aimed at enhancing India’s capacity for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). During the pilot phase of project (initial 3.5 years), it will be implemented in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka. Initially, the project will be aimed at developing and adapting best practices and monitoring protocols for country, and building capacity within 5 pilot States. Later, it will eventually be scaled up across the country through subsequent phases of project. The project will be implemented by MoEFCC in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- It is a global effort towards bringing 150 million hectares of world’s degraded and deforested land under restoration by the year 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.
- At COP-13 (2015) in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge and had committed towards restoring 13 million hectares (MH) of degraded and deforested land by year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares (MH) by 2030. India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.
United Nations Conference to Combat Desertification
- Established in 1994, 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 Convention’s 197 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.
- The UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.
- The permanent Secretariat of the UNCCD was established during the first Conference of the parties (COP 1) held in Rome in 1997. It has been located in Bonn, Germany since January 1999.