Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Salient Points of PM’s address at the 14th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

Friends For ages we in India have always given importance to land. In Indian culture the Earth is held as sacred. And treated as a mother.

While getting up in morning when we touch the earth with our feet we seek forgiveness of mother earth by praying
Samudra-Vasane Devi Parvata-Stana-Mandale |
Vissnnu-Patni Namas-Tubhyam Paada-Sparsham Kshamasva-Me.

Friends Climate and environment impact both biodiversity and land. It is widely accepted that the world is facing the negative impact of climate change. This is seen in loss of land and plants and animal species, facing threat of becoming extinct. Climate change is also leading to land degradation of various kinds, be it due to rise in sea levels and wave action, erratic rainfall storms &sand storms caused by hot temperatures.

Ladies and Gentlemen, India has hosted global gathering through the COP for all the three conventions. This reflects our commitment to addressing all the three main concerns of the Rio Convention.

Going forward India would be happy proposing initiatives for greater South – South Cooperation on addressing the issue of climate change, bio diversity and land degradation.

Friends you will be shocked to know that desertification affects over 23rds of countries of the world. This makes a compelling case for action on land front combine this with the water crisis facing the world. Because when we address degraded lands we also address water scarcity issue.

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. I call upon the leadership of UNCCD to create a Global Water Action Agenda which is central to the land degradation neutrality strategy.

Friends, restoring the health of land is critical for sustainable development. Today I was reminded of the India’s Indices that were submitted at the Paris COP at the UNFCCC

It highlighted india’s deep cultural roots of maintaining a healthy balance between land, water, air trees and all living beings. Friends it would make you happy that India had been able to increase its tree cover. Between 2015 to 2017 India’s tree and forest cover had been increased by 0.8 Mn Hectares.

In India any diversion of forest land for development purposes has to be compensated by making an equivalent land mass available for afforestation. It is also required that a monetary payment of the value of timber which such forest land would have yielded.

Am happy to share that only last week funds amounting to nearly 6 Billion USD, means 40 to 50,000 crore Rupees have been released to the provincial governments in lieu of such diversion for development of forest lands.