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PM Modi to address key UN anti-desertification meet, good announcement expected | All you need to know

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PM Modi to address key UN anti-desertification meet, good announcement expected | All you need to know

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a high-level segment of the UN conference to combat desertification on Monday in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

PM Narendra Modi will address the meeting, formally known as the 14th Conference of Parties (COP) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), to lay out plans to combat the phenomenon that is a threat to climate.

Speaking ahead of the key convention, the Executive Secretary of UNCCD, Ibrahim Thiaw, said "good announcement" is expected from PM Narendra Modi on what India wants to do to fight desertification at the meeting.

"The Prime Minister is expected to make his statement on Monday. I cannot tell you more. Please stay tuned. The Prime Minister will make his announcement. We are expecting a good announcement there," Thiaw was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

While Thiaw did not give details on what commitments India could make at the summit, however, he said "there is a big ambition that India has that they will address after the COP as part of their legacy to this entire process."

Ibrahim Thiaw said he expected the meeting to adopt a Delhi Declaration on combating desertification that will contribute to the Climate Action Summit in September.

Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, was elected to a two-year term as the president of the COP and with his expertise and experience "he is in a good position to help build synergies and cooperation" to fight desertification, Thiaw said.

Javadekar has the roadmap for the COP for the next two years and "therefore, India is actually engaged in building bridges between land and climate and bio-diversity," Thiaw said.

Who all are attending UN Convention to Combat Desertification

The COP, which began on September 2, has the participation of 196 countries and the European Union (EU) and about 8,000 people are attending it.

Its aim is to identify mutually viable solutions to the growing challenges of desertification, land degradation, and drought.

Its high-level segment starts on Monday with PM Narendra Modi Modi, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and ministers from other participating countries.

Top officials from UN bodies, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), are also expected to attend the conference.

About the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

The UNCCD was adopted in Paris in 1994 to be a legally binding document for fighting desertification through sustainable land management and has been ratified by 196 countries and the EU.

The COP is the main decision-making body for the convention and meets every two years to evaluate the progress and its future course.

Thiaw said land degradation was a serious problem for the world as it impacted climate change, food supply and health.

In 2018, 125 people died from dust storms and 200 people were injured by them, he said. Around the world, 25 countries were seriously affected by drought and sought emergency help, he added.

Land degradation cost the world a loss of 10 to 17 per cent of the gross domestic product, Thiaw said.

The convention's main aim is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought to achieve sustainable development by taking action at all levels through international cooperation and partnership agreements.

Recap: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) on Monday. India is hosting COP 14 of United Nations convention from September 2 to 13 to combat desertification. Officials have said PM Modi is expected to make "good announcement" during his address.

(With inputs from agencies)