Dimapur, Sep. 12 (EMN): A seminar concerning work components of a Japanese government-funded project undertaken by the Japan International Coordination Agency (Jica) was held on September 12 in the Forest office complex at Forest Colony, in Dimapur. The project aims to conserve forests and wean people away from the traditional practice of shifting cultivation.
The seminar was conducted for district management and field management personnel, and batch-one villages—the villages that are to be included in the first phase of the project. The project will cover 33 villages during the first phase of implementation. It will be implemented by the Nagaland Forest Management Project (NFMP).
On March 31 2017, the Jica had signed an agreement with the government of India to provide official development assistance (ODA) to eight projects in the country including the Nagaland segment of the project. The Jica is assisting the NFMP financially and has sanctioned funds amounting to over INR 400 crore, updates say.
Addressing the gathering, CM Chang, the minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change remarked: “This project aims to restore forests on lands under shifting cultivation and provide other means of livelihood for local residents and also enable them to contribute towards conserving sustainable environment.”
The legislator mentioned that the project would cover 185 villages in 11 districts of Nagaland spreading over 22 forest ranges. He said that the project would be implemented during a span of ten years i.e., 2017 to 2027, creating both direct and indirect employment. The minister requested the project’s team and stakeholders to coordinate and attain the project’s objectives, and on time.
Chang launched the NFMP’s official website, which was designed and developed by Ramietech Solutions, an IT and Software Company based in Kohima in coordination with the NFMP-JICA team. He released an operational manual of the NFMP during the occasion too.
Also, the principal chief conservator of Forest I, Panger Jamir, highlighted the challenges of the project. During the 13th Finance commission, he said, people came forward for conservation of forest areas. A number of memorandums of understandings were signed with various stakeholders.
However, the officer said, there was no financial assistance from the central government during the 14th Finance Commission; it almost derailed the project. The Japanese agency then stepped in at the right time and breathed a new life into it, Jamir said.
Consultant AK Bansal, a retired Indian Forest Service official, said that the works of the Jica was ‘very unique in many ways.’ He said the agency focuses on results instead of achievement. Application of science and technology in the work, conservation through community participation, and project management consultancy are among the mission statements of the agency, he said.
Representative of Jica in India, Yuko Shinohara, gave a brief introduction of the agency and its work. She said the organization is a governmental agency which caters to the socio-economic development of Japan as well as societies around the globe. She requested the project’s team, and stakeholders besides citizens who are involved in the project to work in coordination to achieve good results. Further, she urged the NFMP team to “expedite” the project implementation works.
According to a document that was provided by the NFMP, there are three major components of the project: strengthening conservation regime through community participation; livelihood opportunities for enhanced household incomes through convergence, and institutional strengthening.