COP 14 reaches major breakthroughs on land regradation

L – R: Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary and India Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar addressing the closing session of COP 14 to the UNCCD on Friday in New Delhi, India

The global community have agreed to make Sustainable Development Goal, a target of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030, a national target for action to save productive land.

In a closing statement at the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the country parties also agreed to address insecurity of land tenure, including gender inequality in land tenure.

At the session jointly presided over by UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw and India Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, the country parties expressed support for new initiatives or coalitions to improve human health and well-being, the ecosystem, peace and security.

COP 14 also adopted a landmark decision to buttress global efforts to better mitigate and manage the risks of drought and build resilience.

We have woken up to the fact that we will see more frequent and severe droughts, a phenomenon that will be exacerbated by climate change.

“To my mind, this is the COP where we put people at the heart of what we do,’’ Thiaw said.

The UNCCD scribe said that a global movement of restoration, anchored in nature-based solutions would deliver benefits for the three Rio Conventions and for many of the world’s most pressing issues.

He said that the private sector played an important role in land restoration and called for a framework for rewarding conservation, restoration and sustainable use of resources.

The event spanning 10 days of over 200 meetings and 44 exhibitions was opened by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, in attendance.

About 9,000 delegates from 122 country parties, including UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Muhammed, UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, ministers and heads of UN agencies attended the conference, whose theme is “Investing in Restoration to Unlock Opportunities”.