Himachal Pradesh Government signed an agreement on Emission Reduction Purchase with World Bank, a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Bio-Carbon Sub-Project of Himachal Pradesh under Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project, here today. The agreement was signed by Sudripto Roy, Additional Chief Secretary (Forests) on behalf of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and Hubert Nove Josserand, Deputy Country Director of World Bank on behalf of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank-Bio Carbon Fund), and the same was exchanged in the presence of Chief Minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu, and Task Team Leader of the World Bank Ranjan Samantaray.

Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister congratulated the Forest Department for preparing the project ‘India” Himachal Pradesh Reforestation Project – Improving Livelihood and Watersheds’ a Clean development Mechanism for implementation in 11 watershed divisions of Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project in the State, covering 177 gram panchayats in 10 districts of the state under the project and aiming at reforestation to protect watersheds, improve livelihoods and generate carbon revenue for the communities. He said that Himachal Pradesh had pioneered the project in the country as 4000 hectares of land would be brought under the project which was highest in the world. He said that the broad objective of the project was to sequester Green House Gases by expanding forestry plantations on mostly degraded lands apart from creating a carbon sink besides fulfilling global and national environmental objectives. He said that it would develop innovative cost effective ways to minimize climate change risks and provide multiple benefits to the poor farmers through meeting their needs of timber, pulpwood, firewood, minor forest produces alongwith carbon credits, in cash incentive.

Prof. Dhumal said that the State Government would be considering synchronization of the various administrative units on completion of the ongoing census operation so that each of such project could benefit the entire unit. He said that it would go a long way in carrying the developmental activities at a faster pace in area specific. He said that the process would also be beneficial for implementation of CAT Plan and CDM. He said that the stakeholders would be benefitted immensely with the implementation of the project as they would be deriving cash incentives out of the project. He appealed to the people to cooperate with the implementation agencies and take various economic and other benefits out of the project.

Deputy Country Director of the World Bank Hubert Nove Josserand detailed the components of the Agreement and congratulated Government of Himachal Pradesh for inking the Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement with the World Bank thereby pioneering the movement in the country. He said that the Bank had entered into agreement for similar projects in 17 other countries in the world and Himachal Pradesh had the largest area to be covered under the project.

R.K.Kapoor, Chief Project Director of the Project detailed the activities under Mid Himalayan Watershed Development Project and the benefits to be accruing to the villagers under the new project.