India to set up a Centre for excellence to address land degradation related issues
New Delhi: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addressed the High Level Segment of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on Monday, 9 September 2019, at Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The PM said that India looks forward to making an effective contribution as we take over the co presidency for a two year term. For ages we in India have always given importance to land. In Indian culture the Earth is held as sacred and treated as a mother.
“You will be shocked to know that desertification affects over two third of countries of the world. This makes a compelling case for action on land front combined with the action to address water crisis facing the world. Because when we address degraded lands we also address water scarcity issue. 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. I call upon the leadership of UNCCD to create a Global Water Action Agenda which is central to the land degradation neutrality strategy”, the PM added.
The PM said “Today I was reminded of the India’s Indices that were submitted at the Paris COP at the UNFCCC. It highlighted india’s deep cultural roots of maintaining a healthy balance between land, water, air trees and all living beings. Friends it would make you happy that India had been able to increase its tree cover. Between 2015 to 2017 India’s tree and forest cover had been increased by 0.8 Million Hectares”.
The PM stated that the government has launched a program to double the income of farmers by increasing crop yield through various measures. This includes land restoration and micro irrigation. We are working with the motto of per drop more crop. We are increasing the use of bio fertilisers and reducing the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. We have created Jal Shakti Ministry to address all water related important issues in totality. And India would put an end to single waste plastic in the coming years.
The PM said “Friends human empowerment is closely linked to the state of environment. Be it harnessing water resources or reducing the usage of single use plastic, the way ahead is behavioural change. It is only when all sections of society decide to achieve something we can see the desired results. We may introduce any number of frameworks but the real change will be powered by teamwork on the ground. India saw this in the case of the Swachcha Bharat Mission, people from all walks of life took part and ensured sanitation coverage, which is up from 38 percent in 2014 to 99 percent today”.
The PM reiterated India’s commitment to the global land agenda. “I also offer India’s support to those countries who may like to understand and adopt some of the LDN (Land Degradation Neutrality) Strategies that have succeeded in India. From this forum I would like to announce that India would 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”, PM added.
The PM said that in order to further develop a scientific approach and facilitate induction of technology to land degradation issues, we have decided to set up a centre for excellence in India at the Indian Council for Forest Research and Education. This will actively engage, to promote South-South cooperation with those who wish to access knowledge, technology and training of manpower to address land degradation related issues.
Modi concluded by observing ‘ओम्द्यौःशान्तिः, अन्तरिक्षंशान्तिः’. Elaborating, he said that the word Shanti does not refer only to peace or the anti-dote to violence. Here, it points to prosperity. Everything has a law of being, a purpose and everybody has to fulfill that purpose.The fulfillment of that purpose is prosperity. So, it says- may the skies, heaven and space prosper.