New Delhi: From 2015-2019, India has reported 30.51 million hectares of land degradation, which is 9.45 percernt of the total land area of the country, as per the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) report.
In 2015, the land degradation was stood at 4.42 per cent. India’s total degraded land is equivalent to the size of 43 million football pitches, as per the first-ever Data Dashboard relelased by UNCCD, contained land degradation data from 126 countries.
The data dashboard released October 25, also reflected that 251.71 million Indians constituting 18.39 per cent of the country’s population were exposed to land degradation during the same period.
Moreover, it added, 854.4 million of the country’s people were exposed to drought from 2015-2018, which is straggering 83.85 percent of country’s population.
Purple spots shows the trends of land degradation in India (Sources:UNCCD)
The report said that “land degradation is advancing at an astonishing rate across all regions” in which the world lost at least 100 million hectares of healthy and productive land each year.
UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said, “The first-ever UNCCD Data Dashboard offers an eye-opening insight into rapid loss of healthy and productive land around the world, with dire consequences for billions of people.
“At the same time, we are seeing some ‘brightspots’ countries effectively tackling desertification, land degradation and drought” he said.
The UNCCD Data Dashboard launch comes at a critical juncture as world leaders and experts will soon gather in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 13-17 November 2023 for the 21st session of the UNCCD Committee for the review of the implementation of the Convention (CRIC 21).
Eastern and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean regions experience the most severe degradation, affecting at least 20 per cent of their total land area.
Notably, in sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean, 163 million hectares and 108 million hectares, respectively, have succumbed to land degradation since 2015.
The UNCCD data warned that, if current trends persist, the world will need to restore a staggering 1.5 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 to reach LDN targets enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As per UNCCD, between 2016 and 2019, approximately USD$ 5 billion in bilateral and multilateral sources flowed into global efforts to combat desertification, land degradation and drought.