India seeks global funding for 'Green Mission'

At a presentation at the Oslo Conference on Climate and Forests yesterday, Environment Secretary Vijai Sharma said, "Since the bulk of India's biodiversity is in forests, there is a need to put REDD (Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and Plus programme on the same footing, as envisaged in Bali Action Plan."
REDD is a policy that aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and requires the developed world to finance and give incentives to governments of developing nations for preserving forests.

However, as countries like India and China are not likely to benefit from REDD, New Delhi is pushing for REDD Plus track to provide finances for efforts to conserve forest areas, adopt environment friendly methods and plant new trees.
Presenting India's case, Sharma gave details about the proposed 'Green India Mission' that seek to double the rate of afforestation and eco-restoration and said the aim is to develop forests as carbon sinks to control greenhouse gas emissions.
He made it clear that India believed that "REDD needs to be seen in the broader context of REDD plus, not in isolation."

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh too had recently said that funding for the Green Mission would be from the Planning Commission and from global sources under the REDD plus.

The Oslo meet which was attended by leaders and representatives from 52 countries aimed to arrive at an interim partnership arrangement for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

Sharma said reduction of deforestation, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks should be treated at par and fairness requires that a unit of carbon saved should be treated the same as unit of carbon added.

Forests are considered as carbon sinks.
The argument has come in the wake of Copenhagen agreement which "while recognising the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation" also talks about the REDD Plus.

It adds "...and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests" and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDDplus to enable the mobilisation of financial resources from developed countries."

Under the 'Green India Mission', one of the eight missions which are part of India's National Action Plan on Climate Change, the government aims to increase forested areas to 20 million hectares by 2020, reducing GHG emissions by 6.35 per cent. Without the mission, GHG reductions would be 1.5 per cent less. PTI AJ KC 05281730

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