Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced the setting up of country’s first Centre of Excellence at the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in Dehradun that will focus on land degradation issues for enhanced South-South cooperation. In his address of 14th Conference of Parties (COP-14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Prime Minister stressed on the issue of land degradation and water crisis, stating that it was a widely accepted phenomenon that the world was facing a negative impact of climate change.
The primary motive of the Centre for Excellence would be to prevent land degradation and restoration of degraded land, by sharing knowledge and technology with other developing nations of the UNCCD who are combatting land degradation and aiming at conserving biodiversity, food and water security, support livelihoods along with maintaining the flow of ecosystem goods and services for posterity.
Created in 1987, The ICFRE is an autonomous organization headquartered in Dehradun, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Its functions are to conduct forestry research; transfer the technologies developed to the states of India and other user agencies; and to impart forestry education. The council has 9 research institutes and 4 advanced centres to cater to the research needs of different bio-geographical regions. These are located at Dehradun, Shimla, Ranchi, Jorhat, Jabalpur, Jodhpur, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Allahabad, Chhindwara, Aizawl, Hyderabad and Agartala.
The Prime Minister further gave an assurance that India would address all three concerns of the Rio convention. He also declared that India has decided to stop the use of single-use plastic and it was time for the world to follow suit.
While addressing the gathering at COP-14, PM Modi brought the world’s attention to the need for re-thinking our plastic use and the aggravated state of land desertification. He further highlighted that the Indian culture praises Mother Earth and everything that resides on it. The Prime Minister also insisted the world to join hands against climate change, land desertification, and global water crisis.