India keen on helping UNCCD member states in Land Degradation Neutrality

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Sharon Kavhu in New Delhi, India

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has expressed his interest in providing technical assistants to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) member countries in achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Target Setting Programme.

The development comes at a time the world is making efforts towards attaining Sustainable Development Goal 15.3 which calls on achieving the target of land degradation-neutral world by 2030.

Among countries to benefit from the proposal includes Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states namely Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the official inauguration of the High-Level Segment Meeting of the UNCCD COP14, on Monday, Modi announced India’s proposal to setup a global technical support institute that will provide capacity building and support in land restoration strategies.

“I am happy to state that India would be happy to help other friendly countries to develop land restoration strategies through cost effective satellite and space technology,” said Modi.

LDN is defined by the Parties of the UNCCD as a state whereby 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.

During the occasion, the Indian Prime Minister also noted that his country will raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status, from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares between now and 2030.

He said this will be focused on restoring land productivity and ecosystem services of 26 million hectares of most degraded and vulnerable land, with emphasis on the degraded agricultural, forest and other wastelands by adopting a landscape restoration approach.

In his remarks, Modi also realized the essential role of water in the Land Degradation Neutrality strategy and called upon the leadership of UNCCD to conceive a global water action agenda that centers on LDN strategy.

He said, “When we address degraded lands, we also address water scarcity. Augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run-off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy.”

The official inauguration of the High-Level Segment Meeting of the UNCCD COP14 was attended by a high level delegates across the globe including Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, Deputy Secretary-General United Nations -Amina Jane Mohammed, Executive Secretary UNCCD- Ibrahim Thiaw, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC)-Shri Prakash Javadekar, delegates from SADC member states, African Union among others.

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