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Steps to Tackle Climate Change

1. India hosted the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14), which focused on the reduction of desertification and improve the quality of land.

2. This shows India’s commitment to fighting such issues, both nationally and internationally.

What is the history of UNCCD?

1. The formation of UNCCD was considered at Agenda 21 in 1992.

2. Unlike African countries, the developed countries did not consider land degradation as a global issue as it affected the poor nations more.

3. Finally, the international community accepted to consider land degradation as a global issue because of reasons such as

a) Spreading of deserts,

b) Dependence of people and their livelihood on lands,

c) Effect of climate change on land degradation.

4. It was also agreed that the countries should be extended help – financial, technological and experience sharing – to fight with the issue of land degradation.

5. The convention is set up as a forum to exchange ideas, knowledge and find out solutions to fight the issue faced particularly by the poor countries.

Why the progress has been slow?

1. After 25 years it was signed, now it has come to the implementation stage.

2. Any international convention takes initial years in understanding the issues at a global level and making a common agenda.

3. This takes some time as the issues faced by different nations are different in nature.

4. Now, the convention has been established successfully and it has its work plan and scientific assessments.

5. A target to recover 150 million hectares of land by 2020 and 350 million hectares of land by 2030 has been set.

6. These targets serve as a benchmark for governments to aim towards a certain path.

7. If the targets show changes on the ground level, the participation by people will also increase and implementation becomes easier.

Which steps should India take?

1. Monsoon water can be conserved to recharge the groundwater.

2. Modern technologies like drip irrigation can make an impact.

3. Several conventional conservation methods of the past, which started disappearing after new British land laws should be focussed upon.

4. For example, villages had a pond that was looked after collectively.

5. Going back to traditional cropping patterns with coarse grains like millets can help in improving land quality.

6. These crops do not need a high level of fertilizer and do not degrade the soil.

7. Tracing of the changes in land use, its fertility, and richness using satellites and studying monsoon to find exact rainfall patterns will aid in planning.

8. India should learn from the success of other nations like Israel in this direction.

Where lies the solution?

1. Due to urbanization and climate change patterns, changes in land use pattern is taking place.

2. A combination of science and the use of conventional methods along with the sharing of ideas among nations can help in fighting the issue.

3. Sharing of knowledge and ideas is important to fight various issues like climate change, poverty, food security, drinking water, sanitation, etc, which several nations of the world today are facing.

4. International conventions like UNCCD can also provide a common platform to solve such issues at a global level.