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Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke strengthens German-Indian cooperation on forest conservation

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke launches the IKI RECAP4NDC project during her trip to India.

The German Federal Environment is set to provide EUR 17.5 million from International Climate Initiative (IKI) funds for a forest conservation project involving four Indian states.

The money will be used by local actors for forest and landscape restoration. In India, the livelihoods of around 300 million people – especially women – are dependent on forests. An estimated 43 percent of Indian forests are damaged or in a poor condition. Federal Environment Minister Lemke is currently visiting the Chennai metropolitan area in India, where she is holding bilateral talks. On 28 July, she will represent the German Federal Government at a meeting of environment and climate ministers from G20 countries.

Federal Environment Minister Lemke:

“I’m very happy that we are able to further advance and expand the close cooperation between Germany and India in forest conservation. India’s forests are a precious ecological resource, as a healthy forest is our natural ally in tackling the global climate crisis and species loss. A commitment to forest conservation brings many rewards and is a win-win situation, not only preserving and strengthening biodiversity but also storing carbon and retaining more groundwater. Since many people in India live from and with the forest, systematic forest conservation also creates good economic prospects – especially for local rural populations.”

A shared engagement for forest restoration

Germany and India have cooperated closely on climate change mitigation and achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) for many years now. In May 2022, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and Indian Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav signed a joint letter of intent on the occasion of the sixth German-Indian government consultations. This LOI envisages Germany providing India with support for the restoration of forests and forest landscapes via the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

The recently announced launch of this EUR 17.5 million project makes a contribution to this agreement by providing funds for the reforestation of wastelands, for example. With the project ‘Restore, Conserve and Protect Forest and Tree Cover for NDC Implementation in India’, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is helping to ensure the restoration of 400,000 ha of forests and forest landscapes in four Indian states: Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand. Representatives of the participating Indian states and organisations are taking part in the event and helping to strengthen regional dialogue. At the same time, the project is using improved monitoring and transferable models to work towards India’s climate targets while supporting the expansion of an additional natural carbon sink capable of storing 2.5–3 billion t of CO2.

Project contributes to the Bonn Challenge

The project is also contributing to the achievement of the Bonn Challenge, for which India has committed to restoring 26 million ha of forest and forest landscapes. Launched in 2011 by the German federal government of the time, the Bonn Challenge pursues the goal of restoring a total of 350 million ha of damaged forests and forest landscapes worldwide by 2030. By 2030, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to accelerate initiatives for restoration and establish a global movement. India has also made the restoration of ecosystems into a focal point of its G20 presidency.

Background information: G20 meeting in India

On 28 July, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke will visit the Indian city of Chennai to attend a meeting of environment and climate ministers from G20 countries. India has adopted the slogan ‘One Earth, one Family, one Future’ for its G20 presidency. With 1.42 billion inhabitants, the country is now the most populous nation in the world and is an especially strong advocate for the sustainable development of emerging countries in the global South. The meeting of environment and climate ministers from G20 countries is a preparatory event before the summit to be attended by G20 leaders in September 2023.


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