1) Union Secretary Opens Forestry Meet (18 December 2001)

Shri PV Jayakrishnan, Union Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, inaugurated the First International Workshop on Agro-Forestry and Soil Conservation in Arid, Semi-arid and Dry Sub-humid Areas. The workshop is part of the Asian Regional Action Programme of an initiative co-sponsored by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), based in Bonn, Germany, and Global Mechanism, based in Rome, Italy. The workshop is taking place at the campus of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru.

Welcoming participants from 12 countries, ICRISAT Assistant Director General Mr S Parthsarathy, IAS, reminded delegates that successful development comes about through “practices and processes, not rules.”

In his inaugural address, Shri Jayakrishnan emphasised the leading role of India in the fight against desertification. A global agenda without India's active collaboration, he said, would be impossible because India contains 16% of the world's population and 20% of its livestock. Underpinning the importance of guarding against land degradation said, “Without forests there can be no water. Without water, there can be no life.” Shri Jayakrishnan lamented the fact that at present 57% of the country's lands are degraded, but pointed out that better management practices could reverse this situation.

The workshop is jointly hosted by the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur, the Central Research Institute for the Dry Areas (CRIDA), Hyderabad, as well as the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

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