Forest conservation saw advancement over last 15 yrs: India to UNFF

NEW DELHI, 12 May: India informed the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) that it has made significant advancements in forest conservation and management, leading to a consistent increase in forest cover over the past 15 years.

The country participated in the 19th session of the UNFF held at the UN headquarters in New York from 6 to 10 May.

Globally, India ranks third in the net gain in average annual forest area between 2010 and 2020.

During the session, India said that it gives high priority to biodiversity and wildlife conservation, having expanded the network of protected areas to over a thousand wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, tiger reserves, biosphere reserves, and other wildlife habitats.

The recent celebrations marking 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’ and 30 years of ‘Project Elephant’ underscore India’s commitment to species conservation and habitat protection, the environment ministry said in a statement.

India also highlighted the creation of the International Big Cat Alliance, a global initiative aimed at protecting and conserving the seven big cat species worldwide through collaborative efforts.

The country also informed the UNFF about the introduction of the ‘green credit programme’, a market-based mechanism rewarding voluntary environmental actions by individuals, communities, and the private sector.

Previously, in October 2023, India hosted the country-led initiative under the UNFF in Dehradun, attended by representatives from 40 countries and 20 international organisations, focusing on forest fire management and forest certification. The recommendations from this initiative were presented during UNFF 19.

The ministry also organised a side event on ‘Principles and strategies for landscape integrated fire management through collaborative governance’, in partnership with the Agency for Integrated Rural Fire Management, Portugal, the Korea Forest Service, and the International Tropical Timber Organization at UNFF 19.

UNFF 19 culminated in a declaration to take urgent and accelerated actions to halt deforestation and forest degradation, and to prevent land degradation, including the implementation of the United Nations strategic plan for forests and the achievement of the global forest goals. (PTI)