AFD signs 50M€ agreement for reforestation & biodiversity conservation in Assam
Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, witnesses French Development Agency and Government of Assam signing 50M-euro agreement for reforestation and biodiversity conservation in Assam, Guwahati.
Guwahati, 4 November 2019
The French Development Agency (AFD) and the Government of Assam today signed a 50 million-euro project agreement (total budget of 62.5 million euro) to support the State government’s initiative to restore Assam’s forest ecosystems and preserve their biodiversity. H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India, was present during the signing ceremony between Mr Bruno Bosle, AFD Country Director, and Mr Jishnu Barua, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam, Environment and Forest Department.
Assam’s forests are one of thirty five biodiversity hotspots – i.e. under with a high percentage of endangered flora and fauna not found elsewhere in the world. These forests are home to over 1300 varieties of wildlife and the only natural habitat of the Asiatic one-horned rhino.
Today’s signing marks the launch of the second phase of the Assam Project for Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC) project, which aims to reforest an additional 12,000 hectares of land, scale up efforts in biodiversity conservation and skill the members of 135 additional communities in different trades. The project works particularly closely with the women of these communities by empowering them through participatory planning, and training them in new skills that will enable them to revive the local economy, protect forest resources and increase their financial independence. A unique feature of this phase is department wide Forest Management Information System (FMIS), and leveraging of modern technology such as GIS, Sensors, and Artificial Intelligence for sustainable forest Management and reducing man animal conflict. The project focuses on climate, by supporting the Forest Department in monitoring the role of forests in climate change, and mitigating potential climate-change related vulnerabilities.
Speaking at the event, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India said, “This project enhances France and India’s commitment to restoring and preserving rich and diverse natural ecosystems. Biodiversity conservation will remain a priority for our 2020 bilateral agenda, and we look forward to sharing the lessons from this collaboration, which has already yielded tangible results that are being shared in India and international forums.”
The Ambassador and his delegation were in Assam over the weekend to assess the impacts of the project so far and interact with the Forest Department staff and beneficiaries. Building on the success of the first phase of the project, this second phase of financing aimed at increasing the project’s coverage area and corresponding impacts, will continue for five years.
In 2012, the government of Assam, with support from The French Development Agency AFD, launched the Assam Project for Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC) in response to the threats posed by deforestation, poaching, and overdependence of local communities on forest resources. Between 2012 and 2019, APFBC has worked across the state to reforest 21,000 hectares of land, built 33 flood refuge sites for wildlife, and trained over 6000 members of the local communities in alternative livelihoods to reduce their dependence on forests. The project has also built up the capacities of the Forest Department, particularly its frontline staff, to reinforce its key missions.
AFD is an inclusive public financial institution and the main actor in France’s development policy. It makes commitments to projects that genuinely improve the everyday lives of people, in developing and emerging countries and as well as in the French overseas territories.
AFD works in many sectors: – energy, health, biodiversity, water, digital technologies, training. It supports the transition to a safer, more equitable and more sustainable world, a world we share in common. Its action is fully in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through its network of 85 agencies, AFD operates in 109 countries and is currently supporting over 3,600 development projects. In 2018, it earmarked EUR 11.4bn EUR to finance these projects.