On 17 June 2019 Shri Prakash Javadekar, the Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India launched a flagship project to build capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in partnership with IUCN. The pilot phase of the project will be of three and a half years implemented in the States of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka.
According to India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), submitted under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), India aims to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. At the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge, to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030. India’s pledge is one of the largest from Asia.
In 2017, the Government of India and IUCN organised a South Asia regional consultation on forest landscape restoration (FLR) in New Delhi, which was attended by eighty-five delegates from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The need for a holistic country-level focus on forest landscape restoration was one of the recommendations from the regional consultation.
To take this recommendation forward, MoEFCC in collaboration with IUCN launched a flagship project on enhancing capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in India on 17 June 2019, on World Day to Combat Desertification at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The aim of the project is to develop and adapt best practices and monitoring protocols for the Indian states, and build capacity within the five pilot states on forest landscape restoration and Bonn Challenge.
When launching the project, Shri Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, informed participants that India’s commitment to global conventions such as UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD are not made due to global pressure but to meet the country’s sustainable development pathways, and emphasised that India will continue to play a leadership role on Bonn Challenge and lead by example in combating desertification.
The project launched in partnership with the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB), MoEFCC will eventually be scaled up across the country in subsequent phases.