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Govt committed to saving land from getting degraded: Javadekar

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 17, 2019  | 19:53 IST

(Eds: Adding more details) New Delhi, Jun 17 (PTI) Acknowledging that 29.3 per cent of land in India was affected by degradation, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar Monday said his ministry was committed to saving it with all necessary contributions in the matter and shall lead by example in combating the crisis. He also announced that India will host the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties or COP 14 to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September to address the issues of land degradation and desertification. At an event held to mark 'World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought', Javadekar said, "There is crisis in the world that the land, once fertile, is not fertile anymore. Where there used to be forest, now it is not. We are discussing degradation of land. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have direction, hope and promise to save the land from degradation." "India will lead by example and cooperate with the world. We will make all necessary contributions in the matter," Javadekar said. The minister unveiled the logo of COP 14 designed by Aayush Naresh Kumar from Meerut, which was selected by the ministry through a contest. The environment ministry had held a contest inviting all citizens to design and send their ideas for the COP 14 logo. Environment Secretary C K Mishra, who also attended the event, said the issue of land degradation was critical and the country was left with less fertile land. "Jostling for space is leaving us with less fertile land. If we lose this land, then there will be a huge problem. In India, the silver lining is that there is a solution, as through technology and resources we can protect the land," Mishra said. He added that "responsible growth" has to be ensured so that no more land is lost. "All organisations -- government and non-government -- and United Nations have to resolve this problem together. This is connected with a major programme that the country has launched -- the prime minister's programme to double farmers' income," Mishra said. Javadekar too highlighted various schemes launched by the Centre such as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Soil Health Card Scheme, Soil Health Management Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PKSY) and 'Per Drop More Crop', and said these were aimed at reducing land degradation. Along with ministry officials, on the dias was Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who said the 'World Day to Combat Desertification' is a unique occasion to remind global community that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools for this lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. The COP 14 will be held from September 2 to September 14 in Greater Noida with over 5,000 representatives from more than 197 countries attending it. During the two-week event, international and non-governmental organisations will also address the issues of combating desertification, land degradation and drought. The minister reiterated that under the Bonn Challenge, India will bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 and additional eight million hectares by 2030. The Bonn Challenge refers to a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world's deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. With about 29.3 per cent of India's total geographical area being affected by land degradation, India has high stakes and stands strongly committed to the convention, Javadekar said. Ahead of the COP 14, the environment ministry, in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has launched a flagship project on enhancing capacity of forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in India through a pilot phase of 3.5 years implemented in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka. "The project will aim at developing and adapting best practices and monitoring protocols for the Indian states and build capacity within the five pilot states on FLR and Bonn challenge. This will be eventually scaled up across the country through subsequent phases of the project," the ministry said. PTI AG AG NSD NSD

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