September 2021: Indo German Project Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystem Services Project launched in Himachal Pradesh

The Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) Project was successfully launched by the Hon’ble Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh (H.P.), Mr Rakesh Pathania on 1st September 2021 at Hotel Peterhof, Shimla. The event saw the participation of other dignitaries such as the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Bhatiyatt Constituency of H.P. cum the Chief Whip, Mr Bikram Jariyal, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Forests, Ms Nisha Singh, Chief Project Directors (CPDs) of Externally Aided Projects (EAPs), Advisor, Planning, Dr Basu Sood, other senior forest department officials and community representatives.

The FES project is a follow-on module of the Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services (HP-FES) Project (2016-2020), focusing on managing forests for water availability. It is jointly being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), State Forest Departments of Himachal Pradesh (HPFD), Uttarakhand (UKFD), and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The launch event commenced with welcome remarks by the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Projects, Dr Pushpendra Rana, followed by a video message by GIZ India’s Country Director, Dr Julie Reviere. She endorsed H.P. as an important partner for GIZ’s Technical Cooperation (TC) portfolio with a long history of more than 50 years of engagement. The first forestry project in H.P. was implemented during the 1980s in the Dhauladhar and Changar areas. She stated that with global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, the forestry sector continues to be a priority action area of BMZ in India. She also focused on the importance of conserving forests, wetlands and farmlands with an integrated and participatory FES approach. This was followed by a film on the concept of FES and the activities implemented during the HP-FES Project. Thereafter, the project was presented by GIZ, focusing on the core interventions of the previous project, lessons learnt and its achievements, also highlighting the output areas and proposed interventions of the new FES Project.

Community representatives also participated by sharing their experiences and expectations from the new project. The Inspector General (IG) of Forests (MoEF&CC), Dr Suneesh Buxy in his virtual message, applauded the Government of H.P. for its immense contribution and success in the field of FES which is recognised nationally. He stated that the outcomes of the new project will lead to better policies and the development of other EAPs which will prove to be beneficial to the communities of the states.

The launch event was successfully concluded with a vote of thanks and closing remarks by the Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Projects, Mr Raman Sharma. He applauded the successful conclusion of the HP-FES Project and expressed his expectation to endeavouring the implementation of the new FES Project in close cooperation at the national and state levels.