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  • 13 September, 2019

  • Min Read

How world is losing fertile land

GS-III: How the world is losing fertile land


For the last two weeks, India has been hosting the meeting of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. A major global agreement on issues related to land, the convention (UNCCD) seeks to address the phenomenon of desertification, the process through which fertile and productive land becomes degraded and unfit for useful activities like agriculture.

Why is desertification a concern?

  • A variety of factors both natural and human-induced are known to be affecting the productivity of land and making them desert-like.
  • Increasing populations and the resultant demand for food and water feed for cattle and a wide variety of ecosystem services.
  • Natural processes such as rising global temperature increase the frequency and intensity of droughts and changing weather patterns have put further pressure on the land.
  • UN Environment Programme is said about 25% of world’s land area has been degraded.
  • IPCC came out with special report on land the rate of soil erosion in many areas of the world was up to 100 times faster than the rate of soil formation.

What is the Convention to combat Desertification?

  • It is the first and only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification.
  • 1992: Rio conference of 1992 resulted in 5 document’s. One of them was Agenda 21.UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) stems from a direct recommendation of agenda 21.
  • 1994: UNCCD was finally adopted in Paris, France on June 17, 1994. That’s why June 17 has been observed as the ‘World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD).
  • 1996: It was ratified in December 1996.

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.

National action programmes:

  • Member countries should constitute a National Action Programme.
  • Under this member countries will identify the factors contributing to desertification and the practical measures necessary to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought.

What changes can be expected on the basis of CCD meeting?

A meeting of UNCCD is not expected to come up with any heading-grabbing decision.

The discussions at the CCD have so far remained technical, mainly focusing on the kinds of activities that can be undertaken degraded landed 2030.

Approximately 80 per cent of the world's extremely poor live in rural areas and land degradation has become an important factor in rural poverty. Nearly three billion 38 per cent of the global population lived in dry lands, according to the report.

Source: Indian Express

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