NEW DELHI: India will restore 50 lakh hectare of its degraded land by 2030, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming global conference on land desertification, the minister said 29 per cent land of India's total geographical area is degraded which has to be restored and will be the agenda of the summit.
India is hosting the Conference of Parties (COP) 14 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) from September 2-13.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to attend the conference, in which nearly 200 countries and 100 ministers will be participating.
"One-third of the world is facing the problem of land desertification. It is a challenge. Science has given us many new opportunities to restore land. The main challenge is that India has 29 per cent of degraded land. This degradation happens because of many factors like overexploitation, overgrazing, over water logging and wind. Floods also make good land into bad land. We have to restore it. Therefore, we have taken a target to restore 50 lakh hectares of land by 2030. We will convert degraded land into fertile land," Javadekar said at a curtain raiser event at National Media Centre here.
The minister also announced that a centre of excellence to combat desertification of the fertile land would be set up at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, which will study the causes of desertification and devise solutions.
He said India will play a lead role in combating desertification for the next two years, taking over the COP Presidency from China.
"India will lead in combating desertification for next the two years. We will lead the world in the right direction and seek the cooperation of all countries. Nearly 200 countries have confirmed their participation. More than 3,000 delegates and 100 ministers are coming. All the UN officials will be there," the environment minister said.