Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, today chaired inaugural session of two day workshop on capacity building of JK Forest and other departments being conducted under REDD-Plus Action for Jammu and Kashmir.
The REDD-plus mechanism of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims to provide financial incentive for forestry based climate change mitigation activities like reducing carbon emissions from forest degradation and increasing carbon stock through conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
The programme was jointly organized by JK Forest Department and Himalayan Forests Research Institute Shimla.
Commissioner Secretary Forests Ecology and Environment, Sanjeev Verma, was the guest of honour on the occasion.
Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, while addressing on the occasion, said that J&K has emerged as a leader among Indian states in recent years. ‘We are the second best in e-Office initiative and have performed exceptionally well in Covid mitigation and management’, he added. It becomes pertinent that J&K would emerge as a model UT in environmental sector within a year’s time, he asserted. He also called for funding such initiatives by convergence of funds.
He expressed happiness to note that as per the Government of India Report, 2021, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has the highest carbon stock per unit area which is indicative of maximum biomass and good soils in forests of J&K. With 42 types of forests, J&K holds the most diverse forests in the country and has every reason to be a model UT as far as REDD-plus is concerned.
He said that the workshop should be utilized to enable a model project which is simple and practical involving convergence, livelihood generation and grass root level programmes. He expressed satisfaction that the Forest Department with the mandate of afforestation and conservation of forests is now actively involving grassroots level institutions like Village Panchayats and Biodiversity Management Committees. He also appreciated the new initiatives of ‘One Beat Guard, One Village’ programme and campaign on ‘Har Gaon Hariyali’ and ‘Van Se Jal, Jal Se Jeevan’ undertaken by the Forest department.
He congratulated HFRI and J&K Forest department for organizing this capacity building workshop.
Chief Secretary highlighted the challenges being faced by the humanity due to changing climate. He expressed concern over species extinction and the rate of biodiversity loss. He spoke on the vulnerability of primary sector like agriculture, horticulture, livestock rearing and the potential of forests for mitigation of Climate Change and its role in maintaining ecological balance, environmental stability and sustainable economic development.
While appreciating their work, Chief Secretary called upon the employees of Forest Department to do their job enthusiastically and conviction towards conservation of ecology and environment through forests. He also suggested giving them timely trainings to update their skills.
Chief Secretary urged upon all stakeholders to put concerted efforts to prevent imminent mass extinction of flora and fauna. He said that India has set voluntary targets under the Paris Climate Accords of 2015 and said that the same need to be achieved with joint efforts. He appreciated the efforts being made under Har Gaon Haryali and other such programmes.
Commissioner Secretary hailed initiatives like installation of solar power units and introduction of electric buses in J&K. He called for making sustained efforts in “greening” of Jammu and Kashmir” and suggested that experts find cost effective methods to achieve the goal.
PCCF, Dr Mohit Gera, highlighted India’s role in achieving global climate goals as set under the Paris Accords. He further stated that Jammu & Kashmir Forest Department is implementing several programmes and schemes which would enhance REDD-plus performance. He thanked HFRI for the Capacity building of J&K Forest Department for preparation of REDD-plus Action Plan of J&K.
Director Himalayan Forest Research Institute, Dr SS Samant, highlighted the activities being carried out by the Council for implementation of REDD-plus framework at the national and state level. He also highlighted that the council has already developed the State REDD-plus Action Plans for the states of Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The council is organizing capacity building programmes for Forest departments of other states and Union Territories for preparation of the State REDD-plus action plans.
The programme was also attended by Chairman JK Pollution Control Board, Dr Neelu Gera among various Heads of Departments and officials of Forest department.