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NEW DELHI : Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, on Wednesday called for action to ensure that land is sustainably managed and continues to benefit the present and future generations.

Addressing the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Conference of Parties at its fifteenth session in Cote d'Ivoire, the minister delivered the national statement emphasising on the fundamental and cross-cutting role of land in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Meeting SDGs can help accelerate tree cover, soil conservation and transition towards sustainable agriculture production. Land restoration is one of the proven strategies that can put us on a pathway to green recovery. It can create jobs, uplift rural communities, and deliver significant co-benefits for human health, biodiversity and adaptation to climate change."

The minister said that several global developments indicate renewed and stronger resolve that provide direct and indirect support to the objectives of UNCCD, such as the launch of the UN decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) that aims to halt and reverse ecosystem degradation and loss.

“We will needto appropriately align our policies and institutions such that they contribute towards the restoration of landscapes and its productivity. It is critical to ensure the flow of public finance into natural resource management to halt deteriorating state of the environment. Our programs and initiatives will not see fruition without the means of implementation necessary to support them," Yadav said.

The minister further emphasised that the recovery process needs to awaken change at the individual level by changing our consumption habits, without which we will continue to put tremendous pressures on land.

“The three conventions on climate change, biodiversity and combating desertification are all linked by the high consumption lifestyle of a global minority among countries. And urgently reducing their profligate emissions is key to the success of all these three conventions," the minister added.

During India’s presidency, the minister reported that the bureau has successfully convened seven high-level meeting that witnessed vibrant discussions and led to decisions on leveraging multilateral platforms on the road to Rio+ 30; scheduling of the fifteenth session of Conference of Parties (COP-15) at Cote d'Ivoire in May 2022; and deliberations in the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on drought.

“For the first time, an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on effective policy and implementation measures for addressing drought under the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD) was established by decision 23/COP.14. A draft report has been prepared and will be discussed during COP-15," Yadav said.

“The world has now chosen Abidjan as the site to begin the next step of our journey, to carry forward this important task. We pass on this responsibility to our hosts, the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, knowing that you will undertake the task at hand with deft and zeal. We repose our faith in you to guide the global community to tread on the path of sustainability with care and respect for Mother Earth," the minister concluded.

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