New Delhi, June 14
Terming land as the fundamental building block for supporting all lives and livelihoods, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for reduction of the tremendous pressure on land and its resources.
“Clearly, a lot of work lies ahead of us. But we can do it. We can do it together,” the Prime Minister said while addressing the UN “High-Level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought” on Monday.
The Prime Minister listed steps taken by India to deal with the land degradation issue. The Delhi Declaration of 2019 called for better access and stewardship over land, and emphasised gender-sensitive transformative projects. In India, over the last 10 years, around 3 million hectares of forest cover has been added. This has enhanced the combined forest cover to almost one-fourths of the country’s total area, the PM informed.
India is on track to achieve its national commitment of Land degradation neutrality, he said. “We are also working towards restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. This would contribute to India’s commitment to achieve an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent,” said the PM.
The Prime Minister gave the example of the Banni region in Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to illustrate how restoration of land can start a virtuous cycle. In Banni region, land restoration by developing grasslands helped achieve land degradation neutrality. It today supports pastoral activities and livelihood by promoting animal husbandry.
In the spirit of South-South cooperation, India is assisting fellow developing countries to develop land restoration strategies. A Centre of Excellence is being set up in India to promote a scientific approach towards land degradation issues. “It is mankind’s collective responsibility to reverse the damage to land caused by human activity. It is our sacred duty to leave a healthy planet for our future generations,” the Prime Minister concluded.