New Delhi [India], March 21 (ANI): Union Environment minister Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday said India highly values the traditional knowledge and wisdom of local people and follows a participatory approach in forest management along with gender equity.
He said under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India manages her forest areas and their resources in a scientific manner based on the principle of sustainability.
Addressing the High-Level Session virtually on the theme "Healthy Forests for Healthy People" on the occasion of International Day of Forests 2023 hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, on Tuesday, at FAO Headquarters, Rome, Yadav said that use of traditional Ayurvedic system, medicinal plants, non-timber forest produce as a source of medicines and forest-based livelihood is deeply ingrained in Indian lifestyle.
He said India has a legal provision for recognizing the rights of tribal and forest-dependent communities through the Forest Rights Act.
Speaking on this occasion, Yadav said that the river rejuvenation program for 13 major rivers through a massive focus on plantation activities, Urban Greening Guidelines of the Government of India 2014, Smart Cities Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 aim to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and a decent quality of life.
"The Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, BeautificationMaintenance) Policy 2015 aims of planting trees along all the highways in the country with the help of local communities, in order to reduce the impact of heat, air, and noise pollution and check soil erosion at the embankment slopes," he said.
The minister informed the gathering that India strongly believes in the One healthy approach to a healthy life and fully appreciates the strong connection between people, animals, and the environment shared them.
He said aiming for Sustainable Cities, Communities Forests and urban greens has a major role to play in bringing our cities and communities' lifestyle closer towards sustainability, which is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Union minister said India has recognised urban forest as an integral part of the city planning process including those in peri-urban areas and is focusing on that area.
Yadav highlighted that Tree Outside Forest (TOF) comprises 36.18 percent of the total forest and tree cover of the country.
He said India has demonstrated an intent to expand the green cover by promoting Tree Outside Forest (ToF) including the Agroforestry system, river catchments, and urban greens.
"India has a robust institutional mechanism with ICFRE (Indian Council for Forest Research and Education), IIFM (Indian Institute of Forest Management), and Wildlife Institute of India to support ecological security and sustainable development of forest ecosystems," he said.
He talked about the science-policy interface of the National Institution for Research and Application of natural resources to Transform, Adapt and build Resilience (NIRANTAR) to drive a sustainable climate-resilient economy.
The opening remarks for the High-level session were given by Director-General, FAO, QU Dongyu, where the importance of forests for the well-being of people was highlighted.
Yadav also attended the International Day of Forests celebrations today along the riverfront from Signature Bridge to Yudhishtir Setu near Garhi Mandu City Forest, situated in Yamuna Flood Plains. This event was organised by the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Government of NCT of Delhi in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
The minister said the efforts taken in the rejuvenation of the Yamuna River are an example of an action-oriented approach. He said that it helps in recognizing the role of forests and forested landscapes in the regulation of water and related ecosystem services.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has envisioned forestry interventions as means for river rejuvenation. Accordingly, a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on 'Rejuvenation of Yamuna through Forestry Interventions' has been prepared for implementation in seven states viz. Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, which are located in the river basin of Yamuna and its tributaries.
To celebrate the International Day of Forests, plantation activities were undertaken by Yamuna Floodplains by the chief guests, students of eco-clubs, and members of Nehru Yuva Kendra, Paryavaran Mitras, and Wetland Mitras. (ANI)