Mega UN Summit to Combat Desertification Kick off at Greater Noida

New Delhi: A UN convention to combat desertification kicked off on Monday at Greater Noida in which countries are expected to announce their targets for land restoration and agree on measures to address emerging threats including sand and dust storms and droughts.

The 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) opened on Monday.

Around 196 countries and 94 environment ministers are taking part in the mega event, which is being hosted by India.

India took over the Presidency of the COP from China.

Inaugurating the conference, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said good outcomes are expected out of the COP 14 considering massive the participation.

“India commits to proactive global cooperation. Climate change is a global problem with global impact. Here, in degradation, the problem becomes local and solutions have to be found locally. But international experience can be shared to help various countries.

“If we take mitigation action on climate change, world will be a better place. We are sure of good outcomes from the COP,” Javadekar said.

Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD, said this conference is going to be the largest ever with nearly 8,000 registered participants.

“This is the largest ever COP organised by UNCCD. We are really excited as it is the 25th anniversary of UNCCD.

“Land feeds people. It is extremely important to keep feeding the world but what to do to keep doing so. Unfortunately we have degraded 25 per cent of land globally which is unusable. Using the human intelligence and technology we must restore the land,” Thiaw said.

The COP will go on till September 13 during which the ministers are expected to announce their targets for land restoration and agree on measures to address the related emerging threats of forced migration, sand and dust storms, and on actions to strengthen resilience to droughts.

During the last COP in 2017 in China, countries had agreed on a 12-year strategy to contain runaway land degradation that is threatening global food and water supply.