Sadhguru to speak at United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation, will be a keynote speaker at the 14th Convention of Parties (COP) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in New Delhi from 2-13 September 2019.

Sadhguru will speak on 10 September 2019 in a panel titled “A value-based approach.” Sadhguru will interact with several UN officials at the COP14 Summit. Isha Foundation recently received UNCCD accreditation which gives it a voice in the global body’s efforts in addressing land degradation.

Sadhguru has often spoken about the soil crisis. “Essentially, water is not the problem. The problem is deteriorating quality of soil. If soil is not organically rich then it cannot hold water,” he said while speaking about his mega projects that reverse land degradation, improve soil health, increase groundwater levels and augment source flow of rivers.

These include the nationwide Rally for Rivers movement launched in 2017 and Project GreenHands which was launched in Tamil Nadu in 2004 and has enabled millions of citizens to plant 35 million trees till date, impacting soil health and groundwater levels and a recipient of India’s highest environmental honour.

The Rally for Rivers movement, started by Sadhguru in 2017, which garnered the support of 162 million people in 30 days and became recommended policy by the Government of India, promotes an economically lucrative plan that will encourage farmers and riverside communities to take up tree plantation in river basins and offers attractive remunerative returns to farmers.

A pilot project has been launched in Maharashtra in collaboration with the state government to revive the Waghadi river in Yavatmal district, one of the most water-stressed regions in India.

“India has about 160 million hectares of arable land. But nearly sixty percent of this soil is labeled as distressed soil. That means in another twenty five to thirty years’ time, we may not be able to grow the food that we need in this nation,” says Sadhguru.

In July this year, Sadhguru launched Cauvery Calling, a movement to revive one of peninsular India’s major lifelines, river Cauvery, which has depleted nearly 40% since Independence. For several months in a year, river Cauvery doesn’t reach the ocean and the riverbed is fast turning into sand. Cauvery Calling is a policy-driven, community-led initiative which will support farmers to plant 2.4 billion trees in the Cauvery basin.

This will help the land retain trillions of liters of water, reversing desertification and significantly augmenting source flow levels enhancing food and water security for 84 million people. In a proven model with 69,670 farmers in Tamil Nadu, Isha has demonstrated that farmer income can rise anywhere between 300% and 800% in a 5 to 7-year time span, by partially converting to agroforestry.

Sadhguru is currently in the midst of an on-ground rally for Cauvery Calling to consolidate multistakeholder support for concerted action to revive the river.

UNCCD was established in 1994 to combat desertification globally. Its Convention of 197 parties work together to improve living conditions for people in dry lands; maintain and restore land and soil productivity; and mitigate the effects of drought.