India is hosting the COP14 of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) from 2nd to 13th September at Delhi NCR, Greater NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh. Theme of this CoP is “Restore Land to Sustain Life”.
NCCF’s side event, Certification of Natural Resources to Combat Desertification and Restoring Landscapes, held on 7th September 2019, was focused on certification of natural resources enhancing the sustainability of forests, agroforests, urban forests and NWFPs, thereby controlling land degradation, helping in combating desertification and achieving ultimate goal of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).
The program commenced with a welcome address from Shri AK Srivastava, Director General NCCF. He outlined the context of the side event adding that certification will facilitate in better management of resources which involves all parameters. It will serve as a tool which could be adopted by all the stakeholders to improve the management of natural resources.
Dr Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNCCD in his remarks highlighted the potential contribution of certification of natural resources in promoting LDN and thus combating desertification. Certification holds relevance to mandate of UNCCD and such side event are more important and impactful. He also hoped that Delhi Declaration to be adopted by UNCCD incorporates recommendations on certification.
Shri Saibal Dasgupta, Additional Director General of Forests, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in his remarks mentioned, “it is important to have a scientific approach. Forestry is a technical subject. Science has a very critical role to play in facing these challenges. Government lands for the specific industry can come under the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) model engaging people and industries which are interested in tree plantation. This will serve as a win-win situation for both. Many of the forests or plantations which are coming up in the different parts of the country need to be certified. It will give them a global acceptance.
Shri Jigmat Takpa, Joint Secretary and National Focal Point of India for UNCCD highlighted the growing importance of sustainable forest management and forest certification.
Shri Vijai Sharma, Chairman NCCF, mentioned that NCCF is a body of eminent professionals and experts in natural resource management. NCCF is willing to contribute towards the efforts of UNCCD for combating desertification.
Dr Jagdish Kishwan, Former Member IFS and Chairperson Carbon Registry India- NCCF, chaired the panel discussion and Ms Bharati, Inspector General Forest MoEF&CC, was co-chair to the session. Mr. Patrick Worms, Senior Science Policy Advisory ADG, ICRAF and Ms Anna Van Paddenburg, Director, Sustainable Landscapes, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) exchanged their ideas and discussed in the panel discussion. The session was attended by eminent experts from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Alliance for Water Stewardship and many more.
The event concluded with concrete recommendations to accelerate certification of natural resources. South-South cooperation for taking forward the agenda of certification in the developing countries was also raised in the session. NCCF along with stakeholders is willing to explore possibility of leveraging certification for meeting the goal of Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022. Financial and policy support of governments were also highlighted as an essential input for certification. Consensus was that certification has got a bright future in developing world.
The event successfully flagged the need of certification of natural resources and products to sustain and improve productivity of lands in the developing countries. Besides the experts speaking on the subject, certification as a tool of institutionalizing sustainable management was appreciated by the Government of India and the UNCCD senior representatives present in the Event. There was general agreement that time had come to seriously think about and pave the way for adoption of Certification of Natural Resources by the developing world.
We have put forward our request to UNCCD Secretariat to consider inclusion of the following text in the conclusion and record of the UNCCD COP14 and Delhi Declaration that is to be adopted by COP 14:
“The Convention would encourage the developing countries to use certification as a system to check and reverse degradation of lands, of land uses like- agriculture, forests and agroforests, and consequently ensure higher land productivity for a secure future of their citizens. Convention would also encourage relevant local and international financial institutions and developed countries to extend support to developing countries for the purpose.”
NCCF’s initiative of developing Carbon Registry- India with an aim of providing a much-needed trading platform for mitigation outcomes with associated benefit of checking land degradation was appreciated as a timely step by the participants especially industry representatives.