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Is India doing what's necessary to fight desertification? Part-II
Profits cannot be at the expense of healthy land: Ibrahim Thiaw "It is like every minute we lose up to 23 hectares of land globally. Everyday land degradation is costing humanity up to $1.3 bn. We will celebrate 25 years of UNCCD, of science and legislation and action on the ground by many countries including India. It is extremely important that in the next 25-30 years we align ourselves to achieve the global climate goals. Over 1.3 billion people in the world are directly affected by land degradation, but more than 3.2 billion are impacted indirectly. That is nearly half of the global population, and well over the 2 billion people who live in the world's dryland areas," executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw says.

The impact of desertification and land degradation on the climate, Ibrahim Thiaw says, "When we say that land is the second largest reservoir of carbon, we mean that any action to degrade land emits carbon. In forests in particular, there are large peat bogs, so a lot of carbon is stored in the soil, soil that is protected either by trees or by ephemeral plant species such as grasses. This is why any action to degrade natural environments emits carbon. On the other hand, any action to restore and conserve land is an additional carbon sink. The connection between climate - land degradation - desertification is therefore undeniable."

"Of course, it is essential to protect the oceans, which cover two thirds of the planet's surface, and the main carbon sink, but humans live on land and not in the sea. And finally, land is much more vulnerable since it is necessary to feed seven billion people. Moreover, the food we consume today is not necessarily local because it is sometimes imported over thousands of kilometers. We are in an interconnected world and as I often repeat to my colleagues here: the coffee I drank this morning is not produced in Bonn, where UNCCD headquarters is located," he said further.

Thiaw said, "When we talk about the protection and conservation of the natural environment, it is not necessarily a local action. In the same way as climate protection: it is a global whole. If we consider what we call the "butterfly effect" it means that a negative action somewhere in the world can have impact thousands of kilometers away. For example: when land degradation reaches an extreme level, we have sandstorms that transport tons of soil over thousands of kilometers. But sometimes this can have a positive effect, as when the Amazonian forest receives nutrients from the Sahel and Sahara, contained in the desert sand, because sand is a natural fertilizer!"

Ibrahim Thiaw says about the mission of the UNCCD, "That UNCCD is the only international treaty dealing with sustainable land management. We talk about "Mother Earth": 99.7% of our food comes from the Earth. We also talk about "Protective Earth": it is the Earth that protects us from natural disasters, and when the Earth is well protected it provides for our economy. It is estimated that land losses are equivalent to $1.3 billion per day due to land degradation. However, when it comes to climate change, it is also the Earth that is the second largest natural carbon reservoir after the oceans. So any action to conserve soil and protect it is a positive step for the climate: both on the adaptation and on the mitigation side. Therefore, sustainable land and space management allows us to build additional carbon sinks. Worldwide there are 2 billion hectares of land that could be restored that is either slightly or severely degraded, which means that we can potentially store significant amounts of carbon when these lands are restored.

The link between land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss Thiaw explains, "We have a planet with more than seven billion inhabitants and soon to be nine. This planet lives and breathes: it inhales and exhales according to the biological environment. It's our reservoir. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims to conserve the world's biological resources, both marine and terrestrial. The Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) seeks to fix these biological resources on land - less on the maritime part - because it is essentially on land that humans live. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) seeks to protect humanity from degradation caused mainly by emissions of greenhouse gases and very short-lived gases into the atmosphere, which are not covered by climate negotiations but are nevertheless gases harmful to the climate."

He said further, "These three Conventions are interconnected. Three essential pieces that constitute the heart of humanity's activities as a kind of puzzle: all the pieces must be intertwined. Any action to protect the climate is good for biodiversity and to combat land degradation. These three conventions were negotiated in Rio exactly 27 years ago and form a coherent whole."

India will lead by example: Prakash Javadekar

Javadekar declared that India will have the fourteenth session of the Conference of Parties (COP 14) to UNCCD from September 2 to September 13, 2019. Embraced in Paris in June 1994, UNCCD drives the worldwide exertion to battle desertification and is finishing 25 years this year. It is essentially a lawfully restricting global understanding connecting condition and improvement to maintainable land the executives. India turned into a signatory in 1994 and endorsed it in 1996.

Acknowledging that 29.3 per cent of land in India was affected by degradation, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "His government is committed to saving it with all necessary contributions in the matter and shall lead by example in combating the crisis. 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".

As of late, India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that India will assume an influential position in battling desertification. While talking at a program on June 17, 2019, to check the World Day to Combat Desertification, Javadekar said the nation makes focuses for its own maintainable improvement and not under any worldwide weight but rather. As before, India will keep on assuming an influential position and will show others how it's done in fighting desertification, he said.

He focused on that with around 30 percent of India's absolute topographical territory being influenced via land degradation the nation has high stakes and in this manner stands unequivocally dedicated to the UN Convention.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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