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UN: Restore land to save planet, boost economy

09.09.2019 12:36 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) As of now, the 14th session of COP (Conference of the Parties) or COP14 is held within New Delhi (India); the conferenece lasts within this year Sept 2–13, UN Radio reports. As to the report, the COP14 hosts ministers, scientists, government representatives, non-governmental organizations, and various community groups from 196 countries, in the hope of agreeing new actions to boost land fertility. It is to be admitted, COP (Conference of the Parties) was established by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) the supreme decision-making body. Up to today, COP had held thirteen sessions; it has been meeting biennially since 2001. Thus, COP13 took place as of 2017 within Ordos (China). In meanwhile, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found. As to the report, while speaking within the sidleines of COP14, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has said investing into the land restoration could not only help keep our planet healthy, but also be the starting point for resolving some of the biggest issues of our time. As to him, we must «invest in land restoration as a way of improving livelihoods, reducing vulnerabilities contributing to climate change, and reducing risks for the economy». As to him, as of 2018, 25 countries called for emergency measures following widespread drought, and on average, 70 countries are affected by droughts per year. Often the poorest communities are those who bear the brunt; facing depletion of resources and left relying on humanitarian aid. "It is estimated that desertification alone «is generating a loss of 10–17% of the global GDP,» Thiaw lamented. As to him, poor land health combined with biodiversity loss — exacerbated by the effects of climate change — has given birth to environmental shifts that could force up to 700 million people to migrate by 2050. In meanwhile, COP14 is expected to agree on about 30 decisions in a bid to ensure the Convention goals for 2018–2030 are achieved; COP14 participants will adopt a land degradation declaration to be presented at the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit as of this year Sept 23, which will highlight land restoration as part of the solution to combat the climate change scourge.

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