Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

Declaration on Forests and Land Use


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Declaration on Forests and Land Use

Mains level: Not Much

At COP-26 in Glasgow, countries got together to sign the Declaration on Forests and Land Use (or the Deforestation Declaration). However, India was among the few countries that did not sign the declaration.

What is this Deforestation Declaration?

  • It was signed by 142 countries, which represented over 90 percent of forests across the world.
  • The declaration commits to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.
  • The signatories committed $19 billion in private and public funds to this end.

Why did India abstain from joining?

  • India had concerns about the linkage the declaration makes between deforestation, infrastructure development and trade.
  • Any commitment to the environment and climate change should not involve any reference to trade, cited India.
  • Analysts in India have linked the decision to a proposed amendment to the Forest Conservation Act 1980 that would ease the clearances presently required for acquiring forest land for new infrastructure projects.

India abstained from many things

  • A look at India’s positions on some other recent critical pledges and decisions related to climate change reveals a clear pattern of objections or absence.
  • At CoP26, India was not part of the dialogue on Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT).
  • FACT, which is supported by 28 countries seeks to encourage “sustainable development and trade of agricultural commodities while protecting and managing sustainably forests and other critical ecosystems”.
  • India also voted against a recent draft resolution to allow for discussions related to climate change and its impact on international peace and security to be taken up at the UNSC.

Why should India join this declaration?

  • Broadly speaking, all of India’s objections are based on procedural issues at multilateral fora.
  • Although justifiable on paper, these objections seem blind to the diverse ways in which climate change is linked to global trade, deforestation, agriculture, and international peace, among other issues.
  • For context, consider India’s palm oil trade. India is the largest importer of crude palm oil in the world.
  • Palm oil cultivation, covering roughly 16 million acres of land in Indonesia and Malaysia, has been the biggest driver of deforestation in the two countries.


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