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India Highlights Forest Conservation Success at UNFF 19, Ranks 3rd in Global Net Forest Gain

India's participation in UNFF 19 exemplifies its leadership in forest conservation on the global stage, showcasing tangible actions and collaborative approaches towards a sustainable future for forests and biodiversity.

Shivam Dwivedi
Forest (Representative Photo Source: Pexels)
Forest (Representative Photo Source: Pexels)

In the bustling corridors of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, India stood out as a beacon of success in forest conservation during the 19th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), held from May 6th to May 10th, 2024. Led by Jitendra Kumar, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Indian delegation highlighted the remarkable strides made in preserving and sustainably managing its forest resources.

India proudly shared its journey of consistently expanding 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. This achievement reflects the country's commitment to sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.

The Indian delegation emphasized the nation's dedication to biodiversity and wildlife conservation. India boasts a network of over a thousand protected areas, including wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, tiger reserves, biosphere reserves, and other wildlife habitats. Recent milestones such as the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger and 30th anniversary of Project Elephant demonstrate India's enduring efforts towards species conservation and habitat protection.

India also introduced the International Big Cat Alliance, a collaborative initiative aimed at safeguarding the world's seven big cat species through international cooperation. This underscores India's commitment to global conservation efforts.

Green Credit Program for Climate Action

To further strengthen climate action initiatives, India introduced the 'Green Credit Program'. This program incentivizes entities to engage in tree plantation and the restoration of degraded forest lands, aligning with India's ambitious climate goals.

India's engagement on forest issues extends beyond the UNFF session. In October 2023, India hosted a Country Led Initiative in Dehradun, where discussions focused on forest fire management and forest certification. The outcomes of this initiative were shared during UNFF 19.

Additionally, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change organized a side event at UNFF 19 on 'Principles and Strategies for Landscape Integrated Fire Management through Collaborative Governance', in partnership with international agencies from Portugal, Korea, and the International Tropical Timber Organization.

The UNFF 19 concluded with a resounding declaration to take urgent and accelerated actions to halt deforestation, forest degradation, and land degradation. This commitment includes the implementation of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests and the achievement of the Global Forest Goals.

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