India aims to become “land degradation neutral“ by 2030: Prakash Javadekar

India would become ''land degradation neutral'' by 2030 if all the critical stakeholders, ie, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, ministry of agriculture, ministry of water resources and the department of land resources worked together on a common implementation strategy, minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar said today.

Felicitating grass root innovators at a workshop on the occasion of the 'World Day to Combat Desertification', the minister said it was necessary for all stakeholders to work out a roadmap that addressed the concerns of all.

The minister said desertification, loss of biodiversity and climate change were the greatest challenges of sustainable development. Desertification of land could be stopped or reverted through the integrated land use planning on landscape basis.

He said his experience on working 11 watershed projects in Maharashtra had shown that land desertification could be stopped with collective efforts. Coordination among the different stakeholders was the key to achieving the goal of land degradation neutral India, he said.

Reclaiming waste land has a direct effect on the poverty eradication and making communities prosperous, the minister added.

Javadekar also highlighted the innovative method adopted by his ministry in publicising the idea of land degradation neutral India.

Earlier, the ministry invited entries in the form of concept along with painting /designs/ captions on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) and used the best among them to publicise the event.

The minister said the crowd sourcing model adopted by the ministry would give a sense of participation among the people and that the ministry would continue to use this model in all its future endeavours.

A key highlight of the inauguration ceremony was the felicitation of pioneers who addressed the land degradation issue with their innovative approach at the grass roots level. The minister felicitated Jadav Payeng from Assam, Ranaram Bishnoi from Rajasthan and the Foundation for Ecological Security, an organisation based in Gujarat, for their outstanding contributions in restoring degraded land and ecosystems.

The minister also released a short documentary on SLEM project in India prepared by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).

The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is being celebrated every year on 17 June 2014.

As a signatory to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which focuses on combating desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), India has been celebrating WDCD every year since 1995 to promote public awareness of the issue, mobilise international cooperation for the implementation of the UNCCD.

The theme of this year's WDCD is ecosystem-based adaptation with the slogan 'Land Belongs to the Future, Let's Climate Proof It'.

The 2014 WDCD highlights the benefits of mainstreaming sustainable land management policies and practices into our collective response to climate change.