National Action Programme for Preventing Desertification on the Anvil

A National Action Programme (NAP) to address all issues relating to desertification and drought is being prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Programme shall identify the factors contributing to desertification and practical measures for its prevention and control. This is especially important in the light of the recent drought in various parts of the country.

The programme will involve long-term integrated strategies focussing, simultaneously in affected areas, on improved productivity of land, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources leading to improved living conditions of people particularly at the grassroots level. Thus, the Programme shall address issues such as environmental conservation, agricultural productivity, sustainable energy and fodder production and use, developmental activities for local communities and their rehabilitation in degraded lands to improve their living standards.

The World Desertification Day is celebrated every year on 17th June to commemorate the day when the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was first adopted on June 17th, 1994. The UNCCD primarily aims at addressing issues of land degradation in dryland regions of world (arid/semi-arid/dry sub-humid). The issue of land degradation and desertification was given attention during the UNCED (UN Conference on Environment and Development), also known as the Earth Summit, in Rio in June 1992. A resolution for an International Convention to combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and desertification particularly in Africa was thus adopted in all. 159 countries have so far signed the convention. The countries affected by the problem of desertification have an obligation to prepare an action plan to address all issues concerning desertification and drought.