In a significant step towards combating land degradation and promoting sustainable land management practices, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav inaugurated the Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Land Management (CoE-SLM) at the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in Dehradun.
The establishment of the CoE-SLM was announced by the Prime Minister of India during the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019. Recognizing the urgency and importance of addressing land degradation, the CoE-SLM aims to spearhead initiatives that contribute to Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets.
Aims of the Centre of Excellence
The Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Land Management has identified several key aims and objectives to guide its activities:
- Setting Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets: The CoE-SLM aims to define and implement LDN targets, which involve restoring degraded land and ensuring a balance between land degradation and restoration.
- Developing drought risk and early warning systems: Recognizing the critical role of early warning systems in mitigating the impact of droughts, the CoE-SLM will work towards developing robust systems that can help identify and address drought-related challenges effectively.
- Mainstreaming gender considerations: Gender equality and the active participation of women in sustainable land management practices are crucial. The CoE-SLM aims to promote gender considerations and ensure the meaningful involvement of women in decision-making processes related to land management.
- Promoting good governance of land tenure and rights: Effective governance of land tenure and rights is essential for sustainable land management. The CoE-SLM will focus on promoting good governance practices that ensure equitable access to and responsible use of land resources.
- Assessing the impacts of land degradation: The CoE-SLM aims to conduct comprehensive assessments to understand the impact of land degradation on greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. These assessments will provide valuable insights for designing and implementing effective mitigation strategies.
- Facilitating the restoration of degraded land: The CoE-SLM will provide technical support, capacity building, and knowledge sharing to facilitate the restoration of degraded land at the national and sub-national levels. It will serve as a hub for innovative and sustainable land management practices.
- Promoting South-South Cooperation: Recognizing the global nature of land degradation issues, the CoE-SLM will actively engage in South-South Cooperation, fostering collaboration among countries to address land degradation challenges and share best practices in sustainable land management.
Objectives of the Centre of Excellence
To achieve its aims, the CoE-SLM has laid down specific objectives that will guide its actions:
- Assessing land degradation: The CoE-SLM will conduct detailed assessments to identify areas affected by land degradation, evaluate the causes and extent of degradation, and develop strategies for restoration and sustainable land management.
- Capacity building on sustainable land management frameworks: The Centre of Excellence will focus on enhancing the capacity of stakeholders, including policymakers, researchers, and land managers, in implementing sustainable land management frameworks aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Strengthening the assessment, monitoring, and reporting of land-based indicators: The CoE-SLM will collaborate with relevant stakeholders to strengthen the assessment, monitoring, and reporting of land-based indicators outlined by the UNCCD.