The Great People's Forest of the Eastern Himalayas initiative has been launched in keeping with the G20 theme of ‘One Earth, One family, One future’
Balipara Foundation in collaboration with Conservation International has launched ‘The Great People's Forest of the Eastern Himalayas’ initiative. It has been launched in keeping with the G20 theme of ‘One Earth, One family, One future’.
The initiative aims to raise $1 billion to plant one billion trees and restore and safeguard one million hectares of land across the eastern Himalayas. It would involve communities to work for the restoration of forests and protection of local livelihoods.
The launch event was attended by G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant; Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC); Meizani Irmadhiany, senior vice president and executive chair Konservasi Foundation, Indonesia; Tamseel Hussain, founder, pluc.tv and Colin Butfield, producer of David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet.
During the panel discussion, highlighting India’s green steps like Lifestyle for Environment, Green Credit Programme and Green Development Pact, Kant, said, “In India we have made our G20 Presidency the people’s presidency. All of us are pushing towards net zero but human behaviour is equally important. 90 percent of carbon space has been already used by developed countries and India has only used 1.3 percent and should be given 17 percent.”
Pointing towards the impressive performance of India in meeting its Nationally Determined goals and focus on renewables, he added, “India is very climatically blessed and should be exporting clean energy.”
The initiative is of importance as the eastern Himalayan region is of vital significance to humanity, home to some of the most densely populated areas on earth with 1 billion people relying directly on its land and water for their livelihoods and survival.
Despite this, 100,000 hectares of tree cover is lost every year and its status as an environmental and societal asset of global importance has not been matched by international awareness of its significance, nor investment in its protection and restoration, which calls for a collective action.
Talking on the occasion, Ranjit Barthakur, president, Balipara Foundation, said, “This historic effort will put the eastern Himalayas, and 1 billion people who rely directly on it on the international conservation agenda. The Great People’s Forest is our movement to protect the region we call home.”
Richard Jeo, SVP, Conservation International Asia Pacific, said, “The people of the eastern Himalayas are some of the most climate-vulnerable on our planet. And they have contributed only the tiniest fraction of the historic emissions that have caused the climate crisis that they are now on the frontlines of."
Other panellists also highlighted the need for joint action on climate change and biodiversity conservation.