India to raise target for restoring degraded land: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre Mart, in Greater Noida, Monday, Sep 09, 2019   | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendera Modi has raised by 10% the amount of degraded land India has agreed to rehabilitate by 2030.

“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,” he said as the keynote speaker during the high-level ministerial segment at the ongoing United Nation Conference of Parties summit on land degradation.

On August 27, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, during a prelude to the UN summit, had said that India would restore “5 million hectares” between 2021 and 2030.

India to raise target for restoring degraded land: PM Modi

Mr. Modi in his address said that this target would be achieved with an emphasis on “degraded agricultural, forest and other wastelands by adopting a landscape restoration approach.” This would also address water scarcity, enhance water recharge in forests, slow down water run-off and retain soil moisture.

India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation. About 29% or about 96.4 million hectares are considered degraded.

This January, India became part of the “Bonn Challenge”, 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. At the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge and pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030. India’s pledge was one of the largest in Asia.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2021 11:45:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-to-raise-target-for-restoring-degraded-land-pm-modi/article29374484.ece

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