India will chair the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) for the next two years as it takes over from China.
With the launch of a 12-day event of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) in Delhi-NCR, India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also took over as the elected COP President for the next two years. The event will take place from 2-13 September 2019 in New Delhi, India.
“This year, India being the global host for COP 14 will take over the COP Presidency from China for the next two years till 2021. India is privileged to be among the select few countries to have hosted the COP of all three Rio conventions on climate change, biodiversity and land. Through hosting COP 14, India will highlight its leadership in navigating the land management agenda at global level. It will also provide a stage to mainstream sustainable land management in country’s national development policies”, Javadekar said.
According to the newly appointed president and country’s environment minister, India has exceeded the ‘Aichi’ targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Also, India’s tree and forest cover has registered an increase of 2% i.e about 15,000 sq km since 2015. He hopes that the event will help member countries find solutions to their problems.
“The key outcomes of COP 14 will facilitate in delivering convergence and synergies among the existing programmes in the field of agriculture, forestry, land, water management and poverty alleviation, which will cater the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” he added.
At the inauguration of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) along with Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of UNCCD, Javadekar also said that the Indian government is committed to find a long term solution to minimise the impact of desertification and land degradation. A few days earlier, the environment ministry had pledged to restore 50 Lakh Acres of degraded land by 2030. But the pledge, ironically, did not stop the demand to raze 2000 trees in the Aarey forests in Mumbai.
As many as 26 states in India are faced with the challenge of desertification and more than 80 % of the country’s degraded land lies in just nine states–Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. On a global level too, such worries remain.
Given that the country has been battling heatwaves, water scarcity and pollution which can be solved by a single bullet – reviving and conserving forests and green spaces – it remains to be seen whether Indian government can steer clear of carbon heavy plans like China did with Belt and Road initiative in 2017. This might be an opportunity to act and make a difference on the ground by becoming a role model of green leadership.