India takes over COP presidency from China for next two years

India on Monday highlighted its commitment to finding a long-term solution for minimising the impact of desertification and land degradation. India, which took over COP presidency from China for next two years, also highlighted its leadership in navigating the land management agenda at the global level.

Union minister for environment, forest and climate change (MoEF&CC), Prakash Javadekar and executive secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), IbrahimThiaw, on Monday jointly inaugurated the 12-day 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to UNCCD at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida. 
Addressing the inaugural session of the Conference, union minister for environment, forest and climate change, Prakash Javadekar, who was elected COP president for next two years, expressed India’s resounding commitment to achieving SDGs. 
“This year, India being the global host for COP 14 will take over the COP presidency from China for the next two years till 2021. India is privileged to be among the select few countries to have hosted the COP of all three Rio conventions on climate change, biodiversity and land. Through hosting COP 14, India will highlight its leadership in navigating the land management agenda at global level. It will also provide a stage to mainstream sustainable land management in country’s national development policies”, said Javadekar.
Highlighting the importance of mobilisation at the grassroots and strong policies in place, Javadekar stressed on how the government is playing a key role in order to find and deliver solutions. Acknowledging the importance of holding an international conference of this nature, the environment minister said, "The key outcomes of COP 14 will facilitate in delivering convergence and synergies among the existing programmes in the field of agriculture, forestry, land, water management and poverty alleviation, which will cater to the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focused vision of Prime Minister’s agenda of “Doubling the Farmer’s Income by 2022”.
"Let us be optimistic. We must have faith in our action, I am optimistic about future and confident that if human actions have caused damage, further human action cam also restore the land ecology and environment," he stated.
Speaking on the occasion, COP executive secretary Thiaw said, “For the next two weeks we are over six thousand tasked with making life better for the 3 and half billion affected by the degradation of three quarters of our land".
Giving the host country statement, MoS, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo said "India has been proactive in combating land degradation, desertification and drought. We have added more than 15,000 sq km of tree cover inside and outside forest areas in last 5 years, which is a big success in land restoration".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the opening session of the High Level Segment (HLS) on 9 September and address the august gathering consisting of deputy secretary general of United Nations, executive secretary UNCCD, president of the COP, heads of states, environment ministers and heads of delegation from 197 member countries.
There will be many side-events and exhibitions to demonstrate country’s present and upcoming effort to combat desertification and drought and to achieve land degradation neutrality from all over the world. India Pavilion is also launched for showcasing the success stories and achievements of India depicting the nexus between land, water, energy, biodiversity, climate change, science and technology.
The Conference is being attended by delegates from 197 parties comprising scientists and representatives of national and local governments, global business leaders, NGOs, gender-based organisations, youth groups, journalists, and faith and community groups, who will present and share their expertise and give an overview to achieve their goals at the Conference, beginning from today to 13th September 2019.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and ratified by 196 countries and the European Union. India ratified the UNCCD Convention on 17 December 1996. This convention can be called as “Mother convention” of the other two Rio Conventions that emerged as a major outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, viz, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
COP 14 will discuss various issues of land such as sustainable land management, reversing land degradation, mitigating drought, halting desertification, addressing sand and dust storms, linkages with gender, tenure, etc. and guide the Convention as global and national circumstances needs change.