'Great People's Forest' and how it aligns with India’s G20 theme of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'
'The Great People's Forest of the Eastern Himalayas,' strives to secure $1 billion in funding to plant a billion trees and restore a million hectares of land in the Eastern Himalayas. This project, launched during India's G20 presidency, underscores the region's ecological significance and addresses urgent climate challenges.
The Balipara Foundation, in partnership with Conservation International, has introduced a project named 'The Great People's Forest of the Eastern Himalayas.' This endeavour seeks to secure $1 billion in funding to plant one billion trees and rehabilitate an expansive one million hectares of land throughout the Eastern Himalayas, encompassing Northeast India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
At the launch event, attended by G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant and the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Leena Nandan, the initiative aligns with India’s G20 presidency theme: 'One Earth, One Family, One Future.'
Ranjit Barthakur, President of the Balipara Foundation, expressed, “This monumental undertaking will place the Eastern Himalayas and the one billion people who directly depend on it, on the global conservation agenda. The Great People’s Forest is our commitment to safeguarding the region we call home. India's G20 Presidency has encouraged us to conceive this ambitious, innovative initiative, and we aspire to enhance the lives of the billion people relying on the land and water resources of this breathtaking region."
Amitabh Kant, India's Sherpa for the G20, emphasized that India's approach to hosting the G20 Summit is distinctive, emphasizing inclusivity by involving all 27 states and 9 union territories.
"We have transformed it into a people’s presidency, taking it to over 60 cities across India and engaging each state and union territory in G20 activities. Remarkable initiatives like these exemplify the enduring spirit of India in the face of such challenges," Kant commented.
The Eastern Himalayas constitute an ecosystem of profound importance, spanning diverse landscapes and housing more than one-twelfth of the planet's biodiversity. This region is home to two major rivers, the Ganges and Brahmaputra. Despite its significance, it witnesses an annual loss of 100,000 hectares of tree cover, underscoring the urgent need for global awareness and action.
Dr Richard Jeo, Senior Vice President of Conservation International-Asia Pacific, underscored, "People have rightly highlighted the urgent plight of the Amazon and the Congo Basin. But we don’t speak with anywhere near the urgency we should about the Eastern Himalayas and its vast ecological significance for the planet. The people of the Eastern Himalayas are some of the most climate-vulnerable on our planet, threatened by melting glaciers, rising sea levels and ever more frequent and more violent storms. And they have contributed only the tiniest fraction of the historic emissions that have caused the climate crisis that they are now on the frontlines of."
"The Great People’s Forest is their response to this crisis and its historic ambition and scale should rightly bring international attention to the ecological importance of this region. We are excited to partner with the Balipara Foundation, regional partners and India’s G20 presidency to design and deliver this historic initiative,” he added.
'Planet India', featuring India's contributions to addressing climate and nature crisis, to be showcased during G20
Additionally revealed during the event was 'Planet India,' an unprecedented visual storytelling campaign celebrating India's contributions to addressing the climate and nature crisis. The premiere of this campaign is scheduled for September 5, 2023, at Bikaner House, coinciding with the G20 Summit.
'Planet India' will present compelling narratives from diverse corners of the country, including the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, the vibrant streets of New Delhi, the lush forests of Assam, and the serene lakes of Bengaluru. It will showcase how individuals are directly responding to the pressing climate crisis with innovative approaches. The storytelling campaign will launch on various social media platforms in anticipation of the G20 Summit, drawing the world's attention to New Delhi.
Tamseel Hussain, representing 'Planet India,' expressed enthusiasm about the initiative: "I am incredibly excited to introduce 'Planet India.' It sheds light on the remarkable, yet often overlooked stories of innovators who are addressing global challenges at the grassroots level. This campaign features contributions from 20 of India's finest creators and includes a hero film titled 'This is Planet India,' featuring Jackie Shroff, which will be broadcast on Jio cinema."