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Environment Ministry secy reiterates commitment to tackle climate change

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Climate change is a reality which needs to be tackled at the ground level, a top government officialThursday said while inaugurating a workshop on global environment facility (GEF) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme. Speaking at the event, C K Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), said the UNDP's small grants programme (SGP) has helped achieve successes in different corners of the country.

"Climate change is a reality which will affect the day-to-day life of the people. We need to tackle it from the ground level. This GEF-SGP workshop is very important. The overall impact of programmes with big funding is lesser compared to small programmes initiated on small funding," he said. "The objective of this workshop is to learn from the experiences of the people under the SGP across the country and reshape our policy," Mishra said.

The UNDP has been with the MoEFCC in implementing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and has financed the Small Grants Programme (SGP) in India since 1997. Projects under the SGP are implemented through a National Host Institution - Centre for Environment Education (CEE), and other NGO partners and stakeholders that have a presence in different parts of the country, a statement released by the MoEFCC said.

The event was also attended by A K Jain, Additional Secretary, MoEFCC, who said that the workshop would enable various field-level workers to share their experiences. Nadia Rasheed, Deputy Country Director, UNDP, also addressed the meeting and said there had been a substantial contribution under the Special Grants Programme by the ground-level NGOs from various parts of India. The SGP has been working extensively in the areas of biodiversity conservation, climate change and landdegradation, the statement from the ministry said.

It said that SGP India has supported 112 community-based projects that benefited more than 400,000 people across the country. Under the SGP, 1,10,000 hectares of land have been brought under sustainable land and resource management in the Western Ghats, Himalayan Front and the arid and semi-arid regions through sustainable measures such as organic farming and community-managed enterprises for non-timber forest products.

Other achievements include improved agricultural, land and water management practices and promotion of sustainable income generation activities among the small farm holders. The workshop, which will conclude Friday, has 120 participants that include organisations and individuals contributing to environmental conservation.