Environmental group launches digital campaign to include Raigad tribes

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A city-based environmental group, the Waatavaran Foundation, has launched a digital campaign to support the coexistence of tribal communities in the forest areas of cities. Called “Adivasis for Forests,” the initiative was launched in association with the Raigad District Administration and technical and financial support from the US-based Cadasta Foundation, the Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai and Vikas Sahyog Pratishthan.

The Waatavaran Foundation has taken responsibility for the effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006 and has a mission to redress the historic injustice suffered by tribal communities and ensure their upliftment.

Aditi Tatkare, Minister of State and Guardian Minister of Raigad said the broader goal is the management and conservation of forests by reversing the migration of tribes to Raigad.

Tatkare launched the campaign in the presence of Michael Vonk, Head of Political, Economic and Public Affairs at the Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai. Also in attendance were Mohan Surve, CEO of Vikas Sahyog Pratishthan, Amy Coughenour Betancourt, CEO of Cadasta Foundation and Bhagwan Kesbhat, Founder and CEO of Waatavaran Foundation.

During his speech at the launch event, Kesbhat said traditional knowledge of tribal communities is needed to conserve and protect forests and biodiversity across the world.

Welcoming Waatavaran’s efforts, Tatkare said tribal communities have been left out of the mainstream for a very long time. “The lack of educated people in this community has resulted in serious problems like migration and malnutrition. This initiative would prove beneficial to those who are deprived of education, social and economic development, ”Tatkare said, adding that now that we have realized the importance of forests, it is time to empower the true stewards of the forest. . “This will help slow climate change and give us a chance to restore a balance between nature and man,” the minister added.

Drawing participants’ attention to a million natural species endangered due to climate change and loss of natural habitats within a few years, Keshbat said forests play a huge role in mitigating the impact of global warming. “It is essential not only to preserve the existing green cover but also to increase it as much as possible. However, this will not be possible without the active participation and support of indigenous communities, ”he said.

Keshbat said financial support through government programs for reforestation practices will increase communities’ livelihoods.

Betancourt de Cadasta said that as the Forest Rights Law is implemented in various blocks, it will empower communities, strengthen their livelihoods and improve conservation efforts. “In addition, geospatial technology and digital tools will enable local authorities to make data-driven decisions,” she said.

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Posted on: Friday November 19, 2021 10:09 am IST

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