Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India

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What is the news?

‘Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India’ was released recently by Ministry of Environment. It was released on the occasion of World Day to Combat Desertification.

Note: Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.

About Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India

  • Published by: The Atlas has been published by Space Application Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad.
  • Prepared using: The Atlas was prepared using IRS Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) data of 2011-13 and 2003-05 time frames in the Geographical Information System (GIS) environment.
  • The Atlas provides a state-wise area of degraded lands for the time frame 2018-19.
  • It also provides the change analysis for the duration of 15 years from 2003-05 to 2018-19.

Significance of the Atlas

  • It is helpful in prioritizing areas to be taken up for minimizing the impact of desertification and land degradation.
  • Moreover, the Atlas will also be helpful in strengthening the proposed National Action Plan for achieving land restoration targets by providing important inputs.
Also read: Land Degradation – Causes and Consequences
Efforts to Combat Desertification
  • India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and is committed to achieving the land degradation neutral status by 2030.
  • India hosted the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019.
  • Further, India is striving towards achieving the national commitments of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and the restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
    • The concept of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) emerged from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012. LDN responds to an immediate challenge: intensifying the production of food, fuel and fiber to meet future demand without further degrading our finite land resource base.  
    • In other words, Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) envisions a world where human activity has a neutral, or even positive, impact on the land. 
    • The UNCCD Secretariat launched this Land Degradation Neutrality initiative, which has been enshrined in the SDGs as target 15.3 on achieving a land degradation neutral world by 2030.
  • The Government of India has set up a Desertification Cell under the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The cell represents India in UNCCD.
About World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on 17th June.
  • The day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 1995 after the day when the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) was drafted.
  • Aim: The day is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.
  • The theme for 2021: “Restoration. Land. Recovery. We build back better with healthy land”.

Source: PIB

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