WWF-India urges tourists traveling to the Himalayas to go green!

WWF- India’s Green Hiker campaign launched

New Delhi: In its efforts to encourage responsible tourism in the Himalayas, the World Wide Fund for Nature- India launched its Green Hiker Campaign today in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The campaign aims at raising awareness about the vulnerability of the Himalayan ecosystem, by encouraging tourists and tour operators to adopt responsible practices towards reducing the impact of tourism on this fragile ecosystem. The campaign stands on the positive, direct message of Nature leaves a mark on you, don’t leave one behind. The campaign corresponds with the tourist season in the Himalayas and links with the Incredible India initiative of the Ministry of Tourism.

WWF's Green Hiker Campaign launched in Delhi by Mr. Sujit Banerjee, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism (3rd from left) - © Anil Cherukupalli/WWF-India

The launch saw the participation of various officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India in addition to many other organizations and individuals. Arjun Vajpai, the youngest Indian to conquer Mount Everest at the age of 16 was also present to lend his support for this campaign. He also shared the overwhelming experience of his recent expedition and the importance of being a responsible hiker.

Mr. Maninder Singh Kohli, veteran Himalayan hiker, presented a short account of his experiences in the Himalayas, the problems and possible solutions. A Green Hiker Animation Film targeting the tourists and service providers in the industry and encouraging them to watch their footprint was released and screened at the launch.

Mr. Sujit Banerjee, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, while launching the campaign said, “…The Himalayas are the pride of our nation. The Ministry of Tourism is glad to support this campaign, since the conservation of the majestic Himalayan ecosystem is a common goal which we have to achieve together. It is important that we start now ….”

On the occasion, Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India said, “Irresponsible tourism is increasingly rendering the high altitude regions and its fragile wetlands vulnerable. Appropriate mechanisms need to be put in place so that tourism can carry on without negative consequences on this ecosystem. The impact of travel in the Himalayan region needs to be dealt with by the travelers themselves. They should be both responsible practitioners and delivery mechanisms of the conservation message. The Himalayas need our care and protection.”


Plan to link Dudhwa Reserve with other forest areas

For the conservation of tigers, the state Forest department and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India) plan to connect the forest area of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve with the adjoining forest areas. At present, a survey is being conducted to assess the possibility of a corridor linking Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Kishanpur Sanctuary and Katerniaghat Wildlife Reserve.

The step is being taken to facilitate easy movement of the big cat from one forest area to another in order to avoid problems of inbreeding among the tiger population. “Though no such case has been reported yet, but we are conducting the survey as our long term goal is to prevent any such problems in the future,” said Harish Guleria, Landscape Coordinator of Terai Arc Landscape (WWF-India).

“We are assessing the feasibility of the creation of the corridors between Dudhwa and its adjoining forest areas. However, the survey work is yet to be completed,” said B K Patnaik, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest of Uttar Pradesh. The corridor area being assessed is the 11-km stretch from Sathiana to Palia range connecting Dudhwa Tiger Reserve to Kishanpur Sanctuary. Similarly, around 14 km of land area along Kaudiyala river in Mohana range — connecting Dudhwa and Katerniaghat Sanctuary — is also being surveyed.

“The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is not linked with nearby forest areas and this restricts the movement of animals. The survey, which will be completed in the next five months, will show whether the corridor will be feasible for the movement of the animals,” said Guleria.

Details like the present and earlier status of the area, nature of adjoining areas, land use pattern and animals movement between the areas will be taken into account.

From Indian Express

Campaign launched for responsible tourism in Himalayas

Seeking to encourage tour operators and tourists to adopt better practices for disposal of waste in the Himalayas and protect the fragile ecosystem, the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) Friday launched the Green Hiker campaign here.

‘Irresponsible tourism is increasingly rendering the high altitude regions and the fragile wetlands of the Himalayas vulnerable. The impact of travel in the Himalayan region needs to be dealt with by the travellers themselves,’ said Ravi Singh, secretary general and chief executive officer, WWF-India.

The campaign, which will cover the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, aims to reach out to tour operators and tourists and encourage them to adopt responsible practices towards reducing the impact of tourism on the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas.

Thus, it has been timed with the peak tourist season in the Himalayas.

Maninder Singh Kohli, a veteran hiker, said: ‘In my last five years of trekking I have seen the situation in the Himalayas degrading constantly. Although tourists litter the place, the worst offenders are the pilgrims who just don’t care at all.’

Arjun Vajpai, 16, the youngest Indian to conquer Mount Everest, has also been roped in for the campaign. He said: ‘Climbers should be properly trained in waste disposal by the government. More importantly, the number of people climbing the peak should be curtailed.’

As part of the campaign, an animation film on responsible tourism will be screened in airports, hotels, coffee houses, book shops and restaurants. Posters, bookmarks and post cards will also be distributed.

Workshops will also be conducted for tour operators, Contact WWF-India.

From Sify

WWF-India meet in Kerala on responsible wood trade and forest certification

WWF- India in association with the Malabar Chamber of Commerce hosted the global multi stakeholder meet on responsible wood trade and forest certification here on Thursday.

The conference is aimed at understanding the various approaches for responsible wood trade.

The conference saw the participation of SME’s across India, international experts on wood trade and certification, wood processors, forest and plantation managers, farm forestry/agro forestry growers, timber traders, paper and pulp companies, retailers dealing with wood and non-wood forest products, NGOs, certification bodies, financial institutions, builders, architects and relevant government agencies.

Business to business meetings were also conducted amongst the companies committed to promote responsible wood trade and credible forest certification.

WWF-India is a partner in implementing the project “Sustainable and Responsible Trade Promoted to Wood Processing SMEs through Forest and Trade Networks in China, India and Vietnam” with the support of the European Commission.

A major objective of this project in India is to build capacity among SMEs in wood processing sectors of Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh towards providing certified sustainable forest products to national and international markets. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)

From Sify

WWF welcomes landmark Norway, Indonesia agreement on deforestation

Oslo, Norway – WWF welcomed Wednesday’s announcement that Norway will provide USD 1 billion to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce emissions caused by deforestation in that country.

Loggers clearing a swamp forest for a palm oil plantation. Central Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia. Norway will provide USD 1 billion to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce emissions caused by deforestation in that country. © WWF-Canon / Alain COMPOST

The two governments agreed Wednesday to enter into a partnership to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia’s forests and peat lands.

The announcement came as more than 30 governments today meet to discuss a first-time partnership at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference to advance REDD+ activities this year.

“This partnership is a key step in developing a workable framework for reducing emissions from deforestation in Indonesia,” said Fitrian Ardiansyah, Climate and Energy Program Director of WWF-Indonesia, “The Indonesian President’s announcement to put a break in releasing new permits to convert peat land also provides new opportunities for further reduction of emissions and this will move the partnership of the two countries closer to achieving the goal.”

“Indonesia’s agreement with Norway to big reductions in deforestation is a groundbreaking achievement in the work to combat climate change,”said Rasmus Hansson, CEO of WWF-Norway,“This commitment to halting destructive forest and land use by one of the world’s key forest countries promises to directly limit global CO2 emissions.”

For real climate benefits to be realized, this agreement needs to be followed up by implementing specific work plans in developing countries, including in Indonesia, that formalize REDD+ implementation and ensure that these activities contain the proper governance for REDD+ and safeguards for indigenous peoples and biodiversity, according to WWF.

“This agreement sets an inspiring example of responsible climate cooperation between developing and industrialised nations,” said Hansson, “To WWF, it is of particular importance that the partners recognise that forest conservation is about much more than CO2 emissions. Safeguarding ecosystems, biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods is an absolute prerequisite for making this work – and obviously a crucial benefit in itself.”

According to the Norwegian government, as part of the partnership funds will initially be devoted to finalizing Indonesia’s climate and forest strategy, building and institutionalizing capacity to monitor, report and verify reduced emissions, and putting in place enabling policies and institutional reforms, according to the Norwegian government. A two-year suspension on new concessions on conversion of natural forests and peat lands into plantations also will be implemented as part of the agreement.

By 2014, the plan is to move to an Indonesian-wide instrument of funding contributions in return for verified emission reductions, the government said in a press release. Funds will be managed by an internationally reputable financial institution according to international fiduciary, governance, environmental and social standards.

From WWF