India, Leader in Fighting Desertification, to Host UN Conference to Combat Problems of Drought and Land Degradation
Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. (Photo: UN/IANS)

United Nations, January 24: India, a leader in combating desertification, is slated to host a biennial global conference that will deal with the problems of drought and land degradation, according to the UN. The Bonn-based UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) said on Wednesday that 197 parties to the pact are expected at the conference from October 7 to 18.

"With India's leadership, the international effort towards achieving land degradation neutrality could take huge strides forward," Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary, UNCCD, said in a statement. India recognises land rehabilitation that can accelerate the transition to sustainable development globally and "as it assumes the COP Presidency, the Convention's 197 Parties can create the environment we need for innovative and ingenious solutions to our common goals", she added. Diwali 2018: United Nations Issues Stamp Sheet to Commemorate Festival of Lights.

The UNCCD was established in 1994 and is the legally binding international agreement on environment, development and sustainable land management and addresses the problems of the most vulnerable ecosystems. Officially known as the Conference of Parties to the UNCCD, the meeting is held every two years and the last one was in China. Yemen Truce Talks: United Nations Proposes 16-Point Peace Plan.

The UNCCD warns that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will "experience absolute water scarcity", and two-thirds of the world will be facing water shortage problems. India was among the first countries to commit to the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goal of stopping land degradation. "India is one of the countries affected by desertification, and is facing new challenges, among which are recurrent droughts and dust and sand storms," Barbut said.

"The country has tremendous potential to turn these challenges into opportunities through improved land use and management, and to provide the leadership the world needs to take bold actions." The conference will receive the first report on desertification from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).