GIZ India World Café event : World Forestry Congress 2015, Durban, South Africa

The XIV World Forestry Congress, hosted by the Republic of South Africa, brought together the global forestry community to review and analyse the key issues, and to share ways of addressing them. Nearly 4000 participants from 142 countries met on 7–11 September 2015 in Durban, South Africa – for the first time on the African continent – in a spirit of inclusiveness and with a willingness to learn from each other, share diverse points of view and gain new perspectives.

The Congress was inclusive of people from all countries, regions and sectors, whether they belong to a government organization, NGO, private company, scientific or professional body, a forestry society, or simply have a personal interest in attending. The broad participation and inclusive discussion on forestry issues facilitated their mainstreaming in global agendas on sustainable development as well as built new partnerships.

The World Café parallel session on ‘Best practices for Climate Change Resilience’ was hosted by GIZ India on 8 September 2015. The session was moderated by Dr. Promode Kant, Foundation Member, Asia Pacific Forest Policy Think Tank of FAO and Director, Institute of Green Economy, while Kundan Burnwal, GIZ India, was the speaker.

This session provided an opportunity for in-depth discussions on best practices in building and maintaining resilience including concrete cases of the application of best practices and successful outcomes. Climate change, land use change and the world’s forests are inextricably linked. It is imperative to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation through appropriate climate change policies and actions along with active community participation. India with a wide range of climate, geography, and culture is unique among biodiversity-rich nations and is known for its diverse forest ecosystems and mega-biodiversity. It is very important to develop and implement adaptation and mitigation strategies both for biodiversity conservation and protection and for safeguarding the livelihoods of forest dependent people, and to ensure production of wood for industrial and commercial needs. Community participation is imperative to make forests more resilient. REDD+ and recent instruments like NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) and INDCs should be developed in this context.

The Government of India, together with GIZ-India, is developing a VCS REDD+ methodology addressing India specific drivers of forest change and identifying NAMA options in the Forestry Sector in India based on a set of criteria and indicators. These activities will help Indian forests to become more resilient through identification of institutional, policy and methodological interventions to increase forest and tree cover in the country. In this session, GIZ India shared the Draft VCS REDD methodology and the Forest NAMA options identified as a result of the feasibility study. It is imperative to share that the processes in identifying these activities were inclusive in nature and draws on experiences from a wide range of stakeholders.

The session began with a brief input presentation by GIZ India on ‘Building resilience to climate change with policy instruments like NAMAs and REDD+’ focusing on active community participation and how implementation of policy instruments can ensure building resilience of forests with climate change. The audience reflected and recommended on these questions:

  1. What are the best practices communities could adopt to build climate change resilience?
  2. What are the best practices governments and other national and global institutions can adopt tobuild and maintain climate change resilience?

Some recommendations that emerged at the session were taken up by the Congress and proposed in the outcome under ‘Message on Climate Change from the XIV World Forestry Congress’ (available at http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/wfc2015/Documents/Climate_change_1.pdf )