Germanys Climate and Environment Cooperation adds a new highlight on Forests
Through the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the German government will support the restoration of forest landscapes in India.
Preserving India’s precious wetlands and fighting the global threat of marine litter, protecting the beauty and importance of the Himalayan regions, ending landfills of waste and creating green jobs – Indo-German Climate and Environment Cooperation addresses a wide range of topics. Both countries have been working together since more than 60 years bilaterally as well as internationally. Further, India has been a priority country in particular for the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Government from its start in 2008 to support climate action and biodiversity conservation.
Strong cooperation between the two countries
In 2023, 46 bilateral, regional and global IKI projects are being funded by Germany and implemented in cooperation with the Indian government, in particular supporting priority actions of partners such as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) as well as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). IKI projects in India address a wide range of climate action for mitigation measures assisting the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that lie at the heart of the Paris Agreement as well as adaptation measures on the impacts of climate change and for improving resilience to the unavoidable consequences.
The IKI also aims to conserve and rebuild natural carbon sinks, taking into account environmental, economic and social concerns and aims to work towards achieving the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). To accelerate action, IKI projects include trainings and support for access to climate finance. Not least, many IKI India projects include engagement with the private sector as well as cooperation with civil society. And the cooperation is deepening due to intergovernmental exchange.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sealed a bilateral Partnership on Green and Sustainable Development, in May 2022 in Berlin. With the new partnership, Germany and India aim to make joint progress on achieving the Paris climate targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). As part of the Partnership both Environment Ministers, Bhupender Yadav and Steffi Lemke, signed a Joint Declaration (JDI) on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). The JDI focuses on cooperation on forest landscape restoration and piloting new models in sustainable forest management and trees outside forests, including in urban areas, as well as restoration of degraded land and wasteland and conservation of wetlands.
International politics made a major change
Forest landscapes have been receiving special attention as they are unique in addressing the ‘triple crisis’ which the natural environment is facing today: the climate crisis, environmental pollution, and biodiversity loss. With this decade being declared as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the world is in the midst of a new era that focuses on giving nature more space and integrating nature/biodiversity in land use and economic practices.
The UN Biodiversity Conference Meeting that concluded in December 2022 in Montreal, Canada, committed to putting 30 percent of land, water, and marine areas under protection by 2030. Growing interest in nature-based solutions, REDD+ and carbon credits in carbon markets, new financing initiatives are accelerating implementation of such measures on ground. Examples are the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition as well as the political initiative Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership as well as bilateral partnerships between two countries, like the Indo-German Joint Declaration of Intent on FLR.
A new lighthouse project for Indo-German Forest Landscape Restoration
Germany aims at supporting Indian efforts in achieving its long-term goal of 33% forest cover and its ambitious commitment under the Bonn Challenge goal to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030. For strong action in this regard, the newest kid on the IKI India block is the “Restore, Conserve and Protect Forest and Tree Cover for NDC Implementation in India” (RECAP4NDC) project. This project is currently being designed together with BMUV, MOEFCC and other stakeholders and will begin implementation by the end of the second quarter of 2023.
India is among the few countries worldwide to have achieved a positive trend in forest and tree cover, which currently stands at 24.6% against the 33% target of the National Forest Policy 1988. India’s trees in and outside forests provide ecosystem services of local and global significance. At the same time the livelihoods of about 300 million Indians, depend on forests. However, areas with serious forest and land degradation stress exist and 43% of India’s forests can be considered degraded due to increasing urbanisation, overgrazing, fuelwood extraction, extended droughts & uncertain rainfall. Hence, the restoration potential is large which is reiterated by Forest Survey of India, the national agency that reports on forest and tree cover in India.
Outlook: The RECAP4NDC project
In four states, the RECAP4NDC project aims to enable actors to effectively plan, finance, implement and monitor Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Trees Outside Forests (TOF) measures. Thereby, it aims to contribute to the achievement of India’s NDC forestry target, enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainably improve rural livelihoods through increased forest and tree cover.
FLR and TOF measures will be implemented as pilot projects on 150,000 hectares, showcasing best practices.
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