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Workshop on reducing emission from deforestation held
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Dec 23 - The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), an autonomous body of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and its Jorhat-based Rain Forest Research Institute (RFRI) organised a daylong regional stakeholders consultations and capacity building workshop on national REDD plus strategy for NE region at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD) here recently, stated a press release. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and role of conservation collectively known as REDD plus under UN Climate Negotiations intends to give financial incentives to the developing countries for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, promoting forest conservation and sustainable management of forests. Paris Agreement on Climate Change also reiterated its support to promote REDD plus in developing countries for climate change mitigation.

REDD plus implementation requires a lot of preparedness at domestic level. Countries willing to seek financial incentives for REDD plus under UN Climate Agreements need to develop a National REDD plus strategy or action plan, a safeguard information system, a forest reference level and a robust national forest monitoring system. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has assigned the task of institutionalisation of REDD+ to the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the workshop, Dr Suresh Gairola, Director General, ICFRE said that REDD plus programmes if implemented properly has a great potential for improving the livelihood of forest dwelling communities at the same time contributing towards climate change mitigation through protection and conservation of forests.

The local communities who have been traditionally conserving their forests can be financially benefited with REDD plus programmes in terms of payment for environmental services. Dr Gairola said tackling deforestation and forest degradation is important for implementing REDD plus at national level.

He asked forest officers to account and document carbon benefits to the nation flowing from national forests and how to develop a system of payments to communities.

Dr RSC Jayaraj, Director, RFRI, Jorhat while welcoming the participants described the importance of REDD plus programmes for climate change mitigation. VRS Rawat, ADG (Climate Change) ICFRE and gave an overview of REDD plus concepts and scope of REDD plus for India’s forests.

The objective of the workshop was to have wider consultation process for preparation of national REDD plus strategy and on developing a safeguard Information System on REDD plus. Participants discussed on various elements that could be incorporated in the national REDD plus strategy. About 30 participants from NE Forest departments, civil society, community members participated in the workshop. Among others, NK Vasu, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Assam, Dr Subhash Ashutosh PCCF, Meghalaya, attended the event. Rajib Kumar Kalita offered the vote of thanks, said the press release.

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