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In Delhi Declaration, a hard push for land-based solutions for climate action | environment

New Delhi: Land based solutions should be used for climate action and biodiversity conservation, the Delhi Declaration announced on Friday has proposed. The implementation of the three Rio Conventions on Climate, Biodiversity and Desertification should be implemented in a mutually supportive manner, it has said. The three conventions were formed following the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio in 1992.

The Delhi Declaration was presented on Friday at the closing of the 14th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The two-page document states that parties will develop gender responsive programmes at local, national and regional levels to drive the implementation of the Convention. Parties will also take a proactive approach to drought through implementation of drought preparedness plans, encourage local governments to adopt integrated land use management and land governance.

UNCCD executive secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw said Delhi Declaration is a powerful document summarising the intent of parties in countering land degradation.”My first take away is the close link between land, climate and biodiversity. The participants will take the message back to UN in New York so that the possibility of using land for climate change mitigation can be unlocked. Carbon belongs to soil,” he said.

Other takeaways according to him are there is a business case for land restoration, parties have woken up to the severity of drought and decision on that is being taken and that land restoration will not be successful “unless we put people first,” Thiaw added.

COP14 President and environment minister, Prakash Javadekar said the COP14 was “flawless” with no controversies. When asked about millions of forest dwellers waiting for their land rights to be recognised under the Forest Rights Act as Supreme Court is hearing an application challenging the Act, Javadekar said: “Government believes and is committed to give titles to all legitimate forest dwellers.”

A UNCCD Secretariat spokesperson in response to Hindustan Times’ questionnaire on the importance of COP14 and Delhi Declaration had said: “A declaration is an expression of political will and commitment to act towards something. It provides a strong foundation for actions, but is not binding on any government. A political declaration captures points of convergence on the part of the Parties, and a commitment to act.”

Apart from the Delhi Declaration there are decisions likely on 30 issues related to land which will be released later this evening. Land tenure has been the most contentious issue discussed at the COP according to civil society groups with a clear divide between country groups. The final text on land tenure has been weakened according to observers.

The Delhi Declaration is an expression of intent by representatives of 197 countries on countering land degradation who had gathered in Greater Noida for COP14.

First Published:
Sep 13, 2019 17:26 IST

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