India committed to restore more degraded land: Javadekar

Greater Noida: India is working to address the issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation in synergy, according to Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.

“We are now not only planning and documenting, but also improving biodiversity, and believe in all three conventions — biodiversity, climate change and land degradation,” Javadekar said while addressing a press conference at the end of 14th Conference of Parties (COP) to UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), here on Friday

The country was committed to restoration of more degraded land, he said.

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This edition of the COP, for which India has assumed presidency for two years, has been the most successful with the participation of over 160 countries, 70 ministers and over five thousand delegates.

Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said, “The private players have requested various governments to regulate land restoration to deal with challenges associated with investment in land. This will ensure that the local communities are not deprived of land rights. Businesses invest when the framework is clear. The business sector also called for incentives to be put in place to incentivise investments on land restoration.”

Talking about take-aways from this COP, Thiaw said the participants had acknowledged a clear link between land restoration, climate and biodiversity. “We’ll bring carbon back to soil. It belongs there and shouldn’t be emitted,” he said.

He said the people had woken up to the effects of drought. “Along with climate change, we have been witnessing frequent droughts. Parties have negotiated a landmark decision on drought,” Thiaw said.

Thiaw also said this COP realised that the land restoration efforts would not succeed till people were at the the forefront.

“Land restoration is not just a bio-physical activity, but about women, health, environment and security. Land restoration is one of the motivations to create condition for peace and prosperity and also land rights involve human dimension,” he said.

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