The French Development Agency (AFD) will help scale up biodiversity conservation efforts in Assam in its second phase.
The government of Assam on Monday signed a €50 million project agreement (total budget of €62.5 million) towards supporting the state government’s initiative to restore Assam’s forest ecosystems and preserve their biodiversity.
The Agency’s country director, Bruno Bosle, and additional chief secretary, environment and forest department, Jishnu Barua, signed the agreement in the presence of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, besides environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya.
The second phase of Assam Project for Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC), 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. This second phase of financing will continue for five years with an aim to increase the project’s coverage area and corresponding impacts.
In the first phase between 2014 and May 2019, the APFBC was implemented with support from the Agency in response to threats posed by deforestation, poaching and over-dependence of local communities on forest resources across the state.
It aimed to reforest 21,000 hectares of land, build 33 flood refuge sites for wildlife and train over 6,000 members of the local communities in alternative livelihoods to reduce their dependence on forests.
Sonowal said the state government had resolved to plant 100 million trees in the state and “remarkable” achievement had been made in this regard so far.
Lenain said: “This project reinforces the commitment of India and France towards restoration and preservation of rich and diverse natural ecosystems. Biodiversity conservation will remain a priority for our 2020 bilateral agenda. We look forward to lessons from this collaboration which has already yielded tangible results. It was shared in India and at international forums.”