A massive 26 million hectares of degraded land in India is due for reclamation by the year 2030. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this during the 14th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) being hosted by India in Noida.
About 960 lakh hectares or 29.23% of land area is undergoing degradation in India, according to Indian Space Research Organization’s land atlas released in 2016.
PM Modi also announced that the Centre would establish a South-South Centre for Sustainable Land Restoration which will provide knowledge and training to all countries affected by land degradation.
“I am happy to state that India would be happy to help other friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost-effective satellite and space technology,” Modi said.
Officials had earlier said that India is advanced in space technology, the knowledge may be utilized in setting up satellite-based planning, monitoring and evaluation system.
The Indian Premier also emphasized on his campaign to phase out single use plastic starting October 2.
“The menace of plastic waste has rendered large tracts of land unproductive and unfit for use, the way forward is behavior change,” he said.
“Going forward, India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater south-south cooperation in addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation,” Modi added during the opening of the high-level segment of the conference which is to close on September 13.
Achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 is among major resolutions to be made at the COP. Out of 196 countries which are parties to the UNCCD, 122 countries, including India, have already agreed to become land degradation neutral (LDN) by 2030, as specified in the goal 15.3 of the sustainable development goals.