New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday (September 9) announced that India would raise its target for restoring degraded land from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares by 2030.

Speaking at the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Modi said between 2015 and 2017, India's tree and forest cover increased by 0.8 million hectares.

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"I would like to announce that India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status, from twenty one million hectares to twenty six million hectares between now and 2030,"  the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi also focused on water scarcity. He stressed on the importance of water recharge, while detailing how water runoff needs to be slowed down. Modi also reiterated on soil moisture and holistic land strategy.

Modi also said India would be happy to propose initiatives for greater South-South cooperation in addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation. "Land degradation is a result of climate change," said Modi, while adding that India would come forward to make an effective contribution while taking over the two-year term of COP Presidency.

Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves and Union minister Prakash Javadekar also present at the event.

(With inputs from PTI)