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Press Release

February 18, 2014

Tamil Nadu Government and JICA Holds a Seminar on "Sustaining Forests & Livelihood through Joint Forest Management"

Mahabalipuram, Feb.17-18, 2014: The Japan International Cooperation Agency and Project Management Unit (PMU) of JICA assisted Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation & Greening Project (TBGP), Government of Tamil Nadu will be organizing a 2-day National workshop on "Sustaining Forests & Livelihood through Joint Forest Management (JFM)" on 17th & 18th February 2014 at Fisherman Cove, Taj Vivanta, Mahabalipuram, near Chennai. The workshop will provide a platform to share the best practices and experiences amongst the 18 participating states, along with the issues and challenges being faced by the project executing agencies in strengthening the Forestry Sector as a whole.

Hon'ble Minister of Forests, Government of Tamil Nadu will be inaugurating the workshop on the first day and the seminar will be attended by senior forest department officials and policy makers of all the JICA assisted forestry projects in India as well as by the officials of the Forest Departments where JICA projects are envisaged. Additionally, there will be attendance from NGOs, conservation organizations among others.

According to Mr. Shinya Ejima, Chief Representative of JICA in India, "We sincerely hope that the knowledge and experiences of JICA-assisted forestry projects, which have been formed and implemented through active collaboration between India and Japan, would facilitate the evolution of other forestry projects to be implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and State Governments in the future and the evolution of the entire forestry sector in India. JICA expects to continue with its positive support for the forestry sector projects in India in the years to come."

JICA's Contribution to Bio Diversity Conservation

JICA, which provided its first ODA Loan assistance for a forestry project in the state of Rajasthan in 1991, continues to be the largest donor to the forestry sector in India, with a cumulative commitment of 214 billion Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 15,000 crores), for 22 forestry projects in 13 states of India.

This also includes one national level project being implemented by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Government of India, for the capacity development of the frontline staff, across more than 10 states in the country. In addition, JICA is also assisting a Technical Cooperation project for strengthening the training facilities and faculty at the Directorate of Forest Education and Central Academy for State Forest Service at Dehradun.

A number of notable achievements of JICA projects which have been observed over the years are namely a) environmental improvement due to increased forest cover through large scale afforestation and regeneration, b) effective soil and moisture conservation measures, c) institutional strengthening of the forest departments in terms of management and introduction of latest technologies, and d) strong community participation through effective Joint Forest Management (JFM) mode includes activities for community development and income generation through Self Help Groups.

Forestry Projects in Tamil Nadu:

Afforestation Project Phase I

Executing Agency: Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu,

Loan Amount: JPY 6,193 million

Agreement Signed: 1997

In view of extreme forest degradation over the years, Tamil Nadu forest department formulated Tamil Nadu afforestation project (TAP) I to restore the degraded forests with special attention paid to uplift lives of people who are dependent on the forests for their livelihoods. TAP I reached out to approximately 1,367 villages, where in village forest committees (VFC) were constituted to execute the project works based on JFM framework. In an effort to strengthen women's participation and to provide alternate livelihood opportunities to poor communities living in the forest area, the project encouraged formation of self-help groups (SHG). TAP I was the first project under Japanese ODA loan in forestry sector to introduce micro credit activities through a revolving "corpus fund" established with project funds.

Afforestation Project -Phase II

Executing Agency: Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu,

Loan Amount: JPY 9,818 million

Agreement signed: 2005

Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project II (TAP II) was designed to continue, consolidate and replicate the gains of Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project I (TAP I). Besides afforestation, the projects focused on new frontiers such as geographical information system (GIS), human resource development, research, forest extension and infrastructure development. In TAP II, the model of TAP I has been expanded to plantation of another 180,000 hectares of land and 800 villages wherein Village Forest Committees (VFCs) have been constituted to execute the project works based on Joint Forest Management framework. In an effort to strengthen women's participation and to provide alternate livelihood opportunities for poor communities living in the forest area, the project has formed Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to introduce microcredit activities through a revolving "corpus fund" established with project funds. The project targets have already been achieved. A total of 800 VFCs and 2,900 SHGs have newly been formed.

About JICA

Established as an independent administrative institution, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation as well as the sound development of developing regions.

JICA works to help developing countries become self-reliant in pursuing their own socio-economic development. Its aim is to act as a bridge between Japan and developing countries so that their knowledge and experience can be shared and developing nations can strengthen their own problem solving capabilities.

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