India on Tuesday said that it is deeply committed to safeguarding the interest and rights of tribal people dependent on the forest and nearly 300 million people in the country are dependent on forests for subsistence, livelihoods, and income generation, Trend reports citing The Print.
Speaking at the 17th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, Chandra Prakash Goyal, Director-General of Forests and Special Secretary (DGF&SS) said that India is committed to a sustainable path to economic growth and development of the country.
“The Indian tradition and culture, rooted in equity and fairness, have helped us manage the resources sustainably,” he said, adding that the robust institutional frameworks and policies in the country have been helpful in the conservation and management of forest and wildlife resources in the country.
“With 80.95 million hectares of area under forest and tree cover, India is among the top 10 countries in forest area and forest carbon stock. The carbon stock estimated by the ISFR 2021 is 7204.0 million tonnes,” he added.
Notably, India is one of 17 mega-diverse countries globally and contributes to about 8 per cent of the known global biodiversity. “We have 987 Protected Areas and 12 Ramsar sites in the country, covering an area of 173,000 square km,” Chandra Prakash Goyal said.
An increase in forest and tree cover and Protected Areas has taken place despite India having only 2.4 per cent of the world’s land, and supporting 17 per cent of the world population and 18 per cent of the cattle population, he also said.
India further said that in the Paris COP in 2015, it has committed to creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030, and is on track to achieving this target.
India is striving to achieve the national commitments of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and has achieved the restoration of more than 11.5 million hectares since 2015, as part of the renewed Bonn Challenge pledges, focusing on sustainable and optimum utilization of land resources.
India is committed to meeting Global Forest Goals and has announced its National Voluntary Contribution in 2019 for achieving the targets of the Global Forest Goals for the United Nations Strategic Plan on Forest (UNSPF) 2017-2030.
The Green India Mission, one of the 8 Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), is a major step towards safeguarding our nation’s biological resources and the associated livelihood against the perils of climate change. Under the green India Mission, afforestation activities are being carried out over 184,000 hectares, the country said in a statement.
“As highlighted in the UNSPF 2030, India reaffirms that the sustainable management of forests and trees holds the key to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of SDGs, particularly SDGs 6,7,11,12,15, and 17,” Director-General of Forests & Special Secretary said.