14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification to be held on Sept 2-13, 2019, in Delhi


• Govt. of India is hosting the mega-event that will be attended by more than 5,000 participants, including 3000 international delegates, and ministers from 94 countries
• Policy makers and other stakeholders will identify and agree on viable solutions to the challenge of increasing desertification, land degradation and drought
• As host of the biennial event, India will take over the COP presidency from the previous host China for a period of two years until 2021

New Delhi: The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP14) will take place from 2-13 September 2019 at the India Expo Center & Mart, Greater Noida, in Delhi-NCR. The 12-day event, hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Govt. of India, will be attended by 5,000 participants, including 3000 international delegates from 196 countries, as well as environment ministers from 94 countries and Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Shri Narendra Modi, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, is also expected to attend the event. The COP14 is being held alongside the 18th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) and 14th meeting of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST), UNCCD.
Policy makers, scientists, researchers, representatives of national and local governments and multilateral agencies, global business leaders, NGOs, gender-based organisations, youth groups, journalists, faith-based organizations and community groups will share their expertise at the Conference. The agenda of the event is to reverse land degradation and its outcomes while accelerating positive achievements for people and ecosystems with a view to deliver on Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 15.3. As host of the biennial event, India will take over the COP presidency from the previous host China for a period of two years until 2021.
This was announced at a Curtain Raiser in the national capital attended by several dignitaries from the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, including Sh. Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister; Sh. Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State; Sh. CK Mishra, Secretary; Sh. Anil Kumar Jain, Special Secretary, Sh. Jigmet Takpa, Joint Secretary, and Sh Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests.
The global Conference will review the progress made, especially during the last two years, to control and reverse further loss of productive land from desertification, land degradation and drought. It is also expected to agree on about 30 decisions to ensure that the Convention’s goals for 2018-2030 are achieved. These goals are to improve the lives of the populations affected by desertification and land degradation and to improve the affected ecosystems, to mitigate the effects of drought and to mobilize sufficient resources to achieve these goals. COP14 will focus not only on the critical gaps in land management and planning, but also on practical actions at local, national and global level.
Said Sh. Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India: “It is a matter of great pride for us to be hosting the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) to UNCCD. India will assume the presidency of this global body for the next two years, and play a leading role in combating the menace of land desertification by taking cooperation of all countries. One third of the world’s land is facing desertification and degradation. As much as 29 percent of India’s land too faces the same problem due to causes like over-exploitation, over-grazing, floods, water logging, etc. Science has now given us many ways to restore this land. We have accordingly resolved to turn 50 lakh hectares of degraded, infertile land in India into fertile land by 2030. In addition, a Center of Excellence will be established in Dehradun for conducting research and providing technical support to meet the challenge of land desertification, degradation and drought. India will also play a prominent role in ensuring that the Delhi Declaration adopted at the Conference is implemented by all the participating countries.”
Some of the prominent policy and decision makers participating at the Conference include names such as Sh. Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India; Sh. Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India; Amina Mohammad, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations; Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification; Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme; Achim Steiner, Administrator, UN Development Programme; and Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary, UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Other distinguished participants at the event include Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the noted Indian spiritual leader; Ricky Kej, Indian composer, music producer and environmentalist; Baaba Maal, Senegalese singer and guitarist; Inna Modja, Malian-French singer and model; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Civil Society Leader from Chad, Naoko Ishii, Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF); and Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund.
Several side events would be held every day on the sidelines of the Conference, such as case studies and concrete actions or new knowledge that is related to the issues under consideration at COP14.
In addition, the Rio Conventions Pavilion, a vibrant space for interactive all-day events and meetings, will depict the synergies between UNCCD, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). For more information: http://www.riopavilion.org/unccd-cop14-new-delhi-india/
COP14 will also host ‘thematic days’ that focus on the different areas of work of the Convention. They include a Day of Synergies (3 September), Morning to Think About Green Environment and Afternoon to Gender Caucus (4 September), Science Day and GEF Evening (5 September), a Sand and Dust Storms Day (6 September), the GEF Day (9 September), the Day of Action for Land (10 September), a Drought Day (11 September) and Day of Land Degradation Neutrality (12 September).
The India Pavilion will showcase the country’s efforts to tackle the challenge of desertification, land degradation and drought. More than 10 Central Ministries will participate along with several states and premier scientific organizations such as ISRO, ICFRE and ICAR.
Many organizations will show their latest products, technology and innovations at the Exhibition and Technology Fair. There will be forums exclusively organized by and for business, youth and NGOs as well as art performances and cultural events.
For more information and agenda of the event, please visit: https://www.unccd.int/conventionconference-parties-cop/cop14-2-13-september-new-delhi-india or https://unccdcop14india.gov.in
Over 1.3 billion people in the world rely directly on land to survive, and suffer the most from the biophysical impacts of land degradation and drought. Today, over a million species in the world are on the verge of extinction, largely due to habitat loss and land degradation. Three out of every 4 hectares of land have been altered from their natural states and the productivity of about 1 in every 4 hectares of land is declining. Poor land health is on the rise, and is impacting 3.2 billion people all over the world. Land degradation working in tandem with climate change and biodiversity loss may force up to 700 million people to migrate by 2050.
India and UNCCD
India became a signatory to UNCCD on October 14, 1994 and ratified it on December 17, 1996. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal Ministry for the Convention. India has around 70% of its total geographical area under drylands. It is the seventh largest country in the world with 328.72 mha area and is second most populated country with 1.21 billion population. With about 30% of its land being affected by land degradation, India has high stakes and stands strongly committed to the Convention. India contributing to 2.5% of the global land area supports 18% of the world’s human population and approximately 20% of the world’s livestock population. In India, total land area under land degradation is 96.40 million hectares (29.32% of country’s TGA).
The Indian Government is committed to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by the year 2030. Over the last few years, it has launched various schemes to help reduce land degradation, such as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Soil Health Card Scheme, Soil Health Management Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna (PKSY) and Per Drop More Crop.
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.At the UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and additional 8 million hectares by 2030. India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.