Afforestation and REDD+ in India


Background: Forests play a crucial role in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In India forest and tree cover of the country is about 24.16% of its total geographical area. The land use, land-use change and forestry sector in India is a net carbon sink which offsets about 12% of total GHG emission. Forestry sector in India is making positive contribution for climate change mitigation. Pursuant to Paris Agreement, India in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to UNFCCC has communicated to create an additional Carbon Sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. In order to meet this challenge, ‘National Mission for a Green India’ is one of the important mission that addresses mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Agro-forestry and farm forestry has significant potential to capture carbon outside natural forests. Agro-forestry also generates significant employment opportunities. Some states have done remarkable achievements in promoting agro forestry systems. 

REDD+ activities as a climate change mitigation options has been agreed in article 5 of the Paris Agreement. India has initiated implementing REDD+ pilot projects. ICFRE in collaboration with ICIMOD is implementing a landscape level trans-boundary REDD+ Himalaya project. The overall goal of this project is to build the capacity of the REDD in the four countries namely India, Nepal Bhutan and Myanmar. These Himalayan countries are taking serious steps to engage in REDD-plus programs where a large population is dependent on forest resources, but their capacity to meet various standards for participation is constrained. 

In India, several sub-national governments are developing REDD+ projects. India recently developed the first from the region, internationally approved VCS REDD+ methodology that addresses India specific conditions, scenarios, localized drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and available data sets in order to ease development of REDD+ projects in the country. Within the suite of choices that India has for achieving its mitigation targets under forestry, the role of market mechanisms like REDD+ will be instrumental. 

Thematic Focus: Focus will be on highlighting various government initiatives in promoting forestry sector (Afforestation programmes, Green India Mission, Forestry interventions in Namami Gange, REDD+ etc) for climate change mitigation. 

Objectives: The broad objectives of the event will be to apprise the international audience about the various forestry programmes that are making positive contribution for climate change mitigation in India. 

Potential contribution: The proposed side event on Afforestation and REDD+ will focus on India’s NDC in forestry sector and its plan to meet the targets various government initiatives. The event will also provide a platform for state governments to showcase their forestry initiatives like Agro-forestry, farm forestry programmes and community mobilization. Experience sharing on transboundary REDD+ Himalaya programme with neighboring countries will facilitate south south regional cooperation in forestry. The event will also showcase the REDD+ methodology that has recently been approved by verified carbon standard (VCS) and addresses India specific conditions and scenarios.