FREEDOM PRESS BUREAU
Hyderabad, Nov 20: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, launched the bilateral program “Forest-PLUS 2.0: Forest for Water and Prosperity” here on Wednesday.
Under the joint program, the USAID will provide technical assistance to Telangana Forest Department to improve the management of Medak Forest Division.
Speaking on the occasion, USAID/India Deputy Mission Director Ramona El Hamzaoui remarked that the Forest-PLUS 2.0 will contribute to achieving the goals of “Telangana ku Harita Haram” (“Green Garland for Telangana”), a program of massive afforestation, rejuvenation of degraded forests, and soil and moisture conservation launched by the Telangana government.
Highlighting the importance of program, Telangana Minister for Forest A. Indrakaran Reddy said, the protection of forest and preservation of ecosystem services are the top priority of the state.
Telangana Haritha Haram is one of the best programs in India to increase the Green Cover from 24 percent to 33 percent, the Minister said.
Forest-PLUS 2.O will contribute technical support for the management of the forest and landscape in the Telangana.
The technical sessions in the event focused on the importance of forest ecosystem services and the need for incorporating them in forest landscape planning by local forest department, such as the Working Plans prepared by the Telangana Forest Department and the landscape management plan by the Medak Forest Division.
The sessions also delved into the role of gender in forestry and the economic opportunities for the forest dependent communities to significantly enhance their well-being beyond subsistence level.
Specifically, Forest-PLUS 2.0 will pay more attention to address the barriers to women’s participation in forest management and access to more viable economic opportunities.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) R Shobha said, the Forest Department was strongly committed for environmental protection and the objectives set by the state government.
The commitment of Forest Officers, Staff will continue to see the success of Forest Plus 2.0 and Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Lokesh Jaiswal works as a nodal officer for the programme, she added.