Strengthening Participatory Forest Management in India (SPFMI) Updates

On Monday 10th November, 2014, Enviro Legal Defence Firm (ELDF) conducted the first inception workshop for its pan India ‘Strengthening of Participatory Forest Management in India’ (SPFMI) project in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. After the in-depth review and analysis of the legal and policy framework of participatory forest management regime in the eight study states of India, including Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Kerala, ELDF team is diligently working to involve every relevant stakeholder in this project from each state.

SPFMI is a USAID supported project which aims to strengthen legal and policy framework as well as the institutional arrangement that governs the participatory forest management in India. It is a two-year project. The ELDF team has conducted a comprehensive literature review of all the relevant laws, policies, programs, judicial pronouncements and past work of ELDF in this sector for each state during the Phase I of SPFMI. The project is in its Phase II wherein all state and national-level stakeholders would be engaged through series of inception workshops. Mr. Sanjay Upadhyay, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Managing Partner, Enviro Legal Defence Firm facilitated the workshop and explained the purpose of the inception workshop –to inform the stakeholders about the objectives of this project, to share ELDF’s national and state-related findings from the literature review, and this culminated into 21 crucial questions to be addressed by the participants. The event provided a platform to the state stakeholders for sharing their concerns and field experiences to make participatory model of forest management successful in Chhattisgarh.

The workshop witnessed a great turn out and participation from Key Government Officials including some of the senior most officials from the state, state forest department, other forest related institutions in the state, Community leaders, NGOs, young lawyers, and subject matter experts from Chhattisgarh among others. Some of the honorary speakers included Mr. D.S. Misra, the Addivtional Chief Secretary of Government of Chhatisgarh , Shri T.S, Singhdeo, Leader of Opposition, though in his individual capacity Dr. A. Boaz, PCCF and M D , Forest Corporation, Gautam Bandopadhyay, a well known domain expert as well as CBO Leader, among others.

The ELDF Team also had key meetings with the Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh, Mr. Vivek Dhand and Principal Secretary of Forests, Mr. R.P. Mandal who offered their unconditional support to make Chhattisgarh the pioneering state of Participatory Forest Management in India.

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