Aditya Vaibhav | The TrickyScribe: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi evoked the international fraternity to help conceive a Global Water Action Agenda. Highlighting the importance of water conservation, PM Modi said on Monday that India is working to ensure more crops per drop while addressing High Level Segment of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
Reiterating his resolve to putting an end to single use plastic in the coming years, PM Modi said: “I believe the time has come for even the world to say good-bye to single use plastic.” Attributing the success of Swacch Bharat Mission to the collective effort of Indians, PM Modi said: “People from all walks of life took part and ensured sanitation coverage was up from 38% in 2014 to 99% till date.” He added that India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status, from twenty one million hectares to twenty six million hectares by 2030.
Interestingly, with gloves on and mops out, Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanshyam indulged in diplomacy of another kind as she led officials and members of the diaspora in cleaning the premises of the Indian High Commission at London on Saturday. The building was vandalised by Pakistan supporters on September 3 during a protest against New Delhi’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate it into two distinct union territories last month.
In his deliberation on the occasion, PM Modi also laid emphasis on Zero Budget natural farming. He asserted that the importance of meticulous management of water, which is central to the Land Degradation Neutrality strategy, is need of the hour and said his government has earmarked “Jal Shakti” (Water Power) ministry for the same. He said: “When we address degraded lands, we also address water scarcity. Augmenting water supply, enhancing water recharge, slowing down water run-off and retaining moisture in the soil are all parts of a holistic land and water strategy.”
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Speaking further, PM Modi extended a helping hand to its neighbours and said, “India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater South-South cooperation in addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation.” He said India is using remote sensing and space technology for land restoration. He extended a helping hand to the developing nations and said India would be happy to help friendly countries develop land restoration strategies through cost effective satellite and space technology.
Meanwhile, he did not fail to flaunt the increase in green cover in India and said: “Between 2015 and 2017, India’s tree- and forest cover has increased by point eight million hectares and in the last week, funds amounting to nearly six billion US Dollars have been released to the provincial governments in lieu of such diversion for development of forest lands.” He said his government is burning the midnight oil in its bid to doubling the income of farmers by increasing crop-yield through various measures including land restoration and micro-irrigation.
It may be mentioned here that the Conference of Parties is being held at a time when India has assumed the COP Presidency from China for two years. It will add to the global discourse on issues relating to the environment, especially land management. It is also noteworthy that India has hosted the COP of all three Rio Conventions on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Land Management.
Close to 7,200 participants including Ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 parties were present on the occasion and the team will take as many as 30 crucial decisions with actions that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts. Before concluding his speech with Vedic Shanti Path, PM Modi expressed his commitment to Sustainable Development Goals that are to be achieved by 2030; of which, attainment of LDN is also a part.