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India Showcases Commitment to Forest Conservation at UNFF 19

New York: India reaffirmed its dedication to forest conservation and sustainable management at the 19th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), held at the UN Headquarters in New York from May 6th to 10th May 2024. The Indian delegation, led by Jitendra Kumar, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, highlighted the country’s significant strides in forest preservation, biodiversity conservation, and climate action initiatives.

During the session, India showcased its remarkable achievements in forest conservation, citing a consistent increase in forest cover over the past fifteen years. Globally, India ranks third in net gain, with an average annual increase in forest area between 2010 and 2020. The country emphasized its commitment to biodiversity and wildlife conservation, boasting an extensive network of over a thousand protected areas, including wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, tiger reserves, and biosphere reserves.

India celebrated 50 years of Project Tiger and 30 years of Project Elephant, underscoring its dedication to species conservation and habitat protection. The country also highlighted the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance, aimed at safeguarding the world’s seven big cat species through collaborative international efforts.

Furthermore, India introduced the ‘Green Credit Program,’ designed to incentivize tree plantation and restoration of degraded forest lands, bolstering climate action initiatives. The program reflects India’s proactive approach towards addressing environmental challenges.

In October 2023, India hosted the Country Led Initiative under UNFF in Dehradun, convening representatives from 40 countries and 20 international organizations to discuss forest fire management and forest certification. Recommendations from this initiative were presented at UNFF 19, emphasizing India’s leadership in fostering international cooperation for forest conservation.

As part of its engagement at UNFF 19, India hosted a side event on ‘Principles and Strategies for Landscape Integrated Fire Management through Collaborative Governance’ in partnership with agencies from Portugal, South Korea, and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). The event aimed to exchange best practices in forest fire management and governance.

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