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CAMPA Policy at Odds with IPCC Report

  • 28 Mar 2023
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

Recently, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its Synthesis Report, where it has raised concerns about the ongoing policy of Afforestation in India that allows forests to be cut down and replaced elsewhere.

What is the Background?

  • Afforestation is part of India’s climate pledges. The government has committed to adding “an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030”.
    • GtCO2e stands for gigatonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent.
  • Afforestation is also codified in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), a body created on the Supreme Court’s orders in 2002.
    • CAMPA works as a national advisory council under the chairmanship of the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for monitoring, technical assistance and evaluation of compensatory afforestation activities.
  • CAMPA is meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
  • When forest land is diverted to non-forest use, such as a dam or a mine, that land can longer provide its historical ecosystem services nor host biodiversity.
  • According to the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, the project proponent that wishes to divert the land must identify land elsewhere to afforest, and pay the land value and for the afforestation exercise. That land will thereafter be stewarded by the forest department.

What is the Controversy Pertaining to CAMPA?

  • In 2006-2012, the fund grew from Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 23,600 crore, but the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found in 2013 that most of the money had been unspent.
  • CAMPA has also come under fire for facilitating the destruction of natural ecosystems in exchange for forests to be set up in other places.
    • In October 2022, the Haryana government said it would develop the “world’s largest curated safari” using CAMPA funds received from deforestation in Great Nicobar for development projects, 2,400 km away and of very different topography.
  • CAMPA-funded projects endangered landscape connectivity and biodiversity corridors” and exposed forest patches to “edge effects.
  • Planting non-native species or artificial plantations wouldn’t compensate for the ecosystem loss as well as be hazardous to the existing ecosystem.

What are the IPCC’s Recommendations?

  • Since the natural ecosystems provide biodiversity, local livelihoods, hydrological services and sequester carbon.
  • The IPCC recommended that Renewable energy projects like wind and solar plants must be promoted to mitigate the adverse impacts of natural ecosystem diversion.
  • Reducing conversion of natural ecosystems could be more expensive than wind power, yet still less expensive than “ecosystem restoration, afforestation, restoration”, for every GtCO2e.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. As per law, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority exists at both National and State levels.
  2. People’s participation is mandatory in the compensatory afforestation programmes carried out under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Source: TH

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