New Delhi – “India is on the highway to economic growth but a green economy that does not generate 8‐10 million green jobs each year is not sustainable,” said Jairam Ramesh, Honourable Minister of Environment and Forests. “At stake is the sustainable future of 400 million people that will be added to India’s population in 30 years’ time,” he added.
He was speaking at “Green Haat” a unique exhibition held between June 1-5 at Dilli Haat, INA Market, that showcased India’s forest heritage through forest handicrafts, herbal and medical products and forest-based food recipes. Fifty‐three stalls from across the country selling products made by Self‐Help Groups (SHGs) from forest and tribal areas revealed the diversity of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) and related livelihoods in India.
India’s natural resources are crucial for the sustenance of 70 percent of its population. Highlighting the importance of NTFPs to India’s rural economy, Caitlin Wiesen, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said, “NTFPs play an important role in the livelihoods and resilience of rural communities and, in some of India’s poorest regions, NTFPs contribute up to 60 percent of household income.”
“Capturing the full economic potential of NTFPs by improving markets and strengthening access to NTFPs can open up significant opportunities for sustainable growth and poverty reduction,” she added.
UNDP supports vulnerable communities in building their capacities to manage natural resources and to promote sustainable livelihoods by strengthening the institutional capacities at different levels and bringing in behavioral changes to manage natural resources in an integrated, participatory and sustainable manner.
UNDP projects have also resulted in developing prototypes of several ecosystem based livelihood enterprises including NTFPs. UNDP’s small grants programme supports local communities in building sustainable business models on NTFPs. The programme has produced several innovative prototypes with high potential for replication. Some of these include products from bamboo, leaf‐plates from soapnut tree, stoles and shawls from nettle plant.
Also present at the event were Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, and Tishya Chatterjee, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
Green Haat was jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme and the Centre for Environment Education (CEE).
UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. www.undp.org and www.undp.org.in.