The kickoff workshop under Phase I of the Indo-French Park and Biodiversity Partnership was held at the Centenary Convention Centre in the Kaziranga National Park, Assam, on 11 November 2022. The partnership is a trilateral collaboration between the AFD (French Development Agency), ONFI (French Forest Service International), and the Assam Forest Department.
“This partnership is a significant milestone in our ongoing collaboration and will facilitate the cooperation on bilateral agreements between India and France to deep dive into the pressing matters of wildlife management,” Bruno Bosle, Country Director of the AFD, said.
M.K. Yadava, IFS, PCCFand HoFF, and CWLW, Assam, chaired the workshop and shared his insights on the best practices and emerging techniques in forest conservation and wildlife management across Assam from his vast wealth of experience in the sector.
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“This partnership that allows us to learn from the best practices across the Indo-Pacific will add to our suite of measures towards managing the forests and wildlife of Assam and go beyond localized solutions to achieving long-lasting sustainable development in the region,” M.K. Yadava said.
Gilles Moynot, Technical Director, Lucile Auzemery, Research Analyst from the ONFI, and Laura Buis, Task Team Leader (Biodiversity), Emmanuel Fourmann, Economist (Risk Department), Akshita Sharma, and Sector Portfolio Manager (Biodiversity) from the AFD, along with the divisional forest officers (DFOs) of Assam, also attended the knowledge-sharing workshop.
The DFOs shared their experiences on Protected Area Management, community partnerships and the use of emerging technologies, such as M-STrIPES, e-Eye Surveillance, Radio Telemetry, and Camera Traps, for long-term planning and monitoring of the wildlife population.
“Officials from the Assam Forest Department shared their on-ground learnings, various technological solutions, and other key measures they take to harmonize the needs of wildlife with the requirement of local communities,” Moynotsaid, adding that it was an enriching experience to know how Assam forest force works on the ground.
In addition to the visit to the Kaziranga National Park, the two-member team from the ONFI is visiting other Protected Areas, including Orang National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Manas National Park, and Raimona National Park, to understand the aspects of landscape connectivity, flood management, functional corridors, human-wildlife conflict management, habitat management, and anti-poaching mechanisms, among others, in Assam.
The workshop is the first deliverable under the Park and Biodiversity Partnership, which aims to promote biodiversity conservation, sustainable tourism, and improved management/governance of protected areas in ecologically important regions across the Indo-pacific zone (covering countries from Eastern Africa to the American West Coast).