NCCF held its 6th Annual

NCCF held its 6th Annual General Meeting online on 29th October 2021

(Summary of discussions held and decisions taken)

The 6th Annual General Meeting of NCCF was held online on 29th October 2021 under the Chairmanship of Mr Vijai Sharma, Chairman, NCCF. Mr Sanjeev Aggarwal, Secretary, NCCF, in his welcome remarks mentioned that NCCF’s diverse conservation activities pertaining to sustainability standards, policy advocacy, research training and capacity building through multi-stakeholder engagement, is now being well recognized in the country and internationally also.

Mr Vijai Sharma, Chairman, NCCF, in his remarks highlighted that NCCF’s Sustainability Standards have a great potential to contribute towards achieving SDG goals, sustainable forest management, and our international commitments for climate action, biodiversity conservation, and land restoration. He mentioned that the UNCCD has given NCCF  Observer Status thereby, keeping us in step with the climate change processes being promoted multilaterally, pertaining both to mitigation and adaptation. The AGM was informed that NCCF has also submitted application for Observer Status with the UNFCCC.

Mr Vijai Sharma submitted his resignation as Chairman on account of his other commitments. Recalling his exceptional and meritorious services rendered as Chairman, NCCF for more than 5 years, he was appointed as Chairman Emeritus in an honorary capacity.

AGM also resolved the Mr Avani K Varma, Co-Chairman, NCCF will officiate as Chairman,NCCF ,as his additional charge, till election/appointment of the new Chairman. Mr Avani K Varma while accepting the additional responsibility of Chairman, mentioned that NCCF has to actively and vigorously engage with the Central Ministries, State Governments, Industry and all stakeholders for adoption of a policy guideline on certification and its time bound implementation by the states and all stakeholders. Mr A M Singh,ex PCCF &HoFF, Assam shared his thoughts on similar lines to have a strong policy perspective on forest certification.

Mr A K Srivastava, DG, NCCF presented the annual report for the financial year 2020-202, and updated the Members of Governing Body, NCCF Members, Chairpersons, Carbon Registry, Promotions, Communications and Advocacy Group, Certification Advisory Group and various Standard Development Groups about the activities and achievements of NCCF during the year.

Mr Abhishek Srivastava, Deputy Director, CR-I made a presentation on Carbon Registry-India, which is  NCCF’s major endeavor to provide a carbon tracking platform for projects generating carbon credits and this would contribute to combating climate change.  The Registry is now operational.

Dr S R Sharma, Additional Commissioner, representing Ms Chhavi Jha, Joint Secretary (NRM), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA &FW) , apprised the AGM that the Sub Mission on Agroforestry being implemented by MoA&FW has effectively contributed to expansion of agroforestry in India.  He assured full support of the Ministry in implementation of the Trees outside Forests Certification ( ToF) scheme for enhancing sustainability of ToF resources and income of the farmers and other tree growers,apart from ensuring better markets and price premium for the certified products.

The AGM was informed that ToF Standard was under the process of PEFC’s endorsement. In this regard,PEFC had organized an international public consultation on 27th September 2021 and the Standard was put on PEFC’s website for two months international public consultation.

Dr Shiv Kumar Dhyani, Senior Agroforestry Specialist,World Agroforestry ICRAF attended the AGM as a Special Invitee and appreciated the support of NCCF, as a  consortium partner  of ICRAF, in development of a funding proposal for Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) Activity, that has been submitted  to  United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He was hopeful of an early launch of the ToFI Project.

Dr Vivek Saxena, Managing Director, Haryana Forest Development Corporation suggested to initiate certification of trees outside forests in Yamunagar industrial belt of Haryana as a pilot project.

Dr Devendra Pandey, Chairperson, SDG, ToF Standard appreciated the suggestion of Dr Saxena and assured to initiate a pilot project for ToF certification in Yamunanagar area.

Mr R.K. Garg, Joint Secretary,NCCF and General Manager, Star Papers Limited expressed interest to initiate certification of farmers trees using ToF Scheme.

Mr. Sachin Raj Jain, Convener- Treasurer, NCCF, impressed upon the necessity of recognizing certification as a demonstrable evidence of sustainability of the forests/ trees outside forests and how this could ensure supply of forest products and services from healthy, diverse, and productive ecosystems. This directly contributes to the enhancement of income of tree growers and farmers, welfare of the workers, tribals, and forest communities, and in achieving the objectives of “Make in India Program” and “Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”. 

Mr A.K.Bansal, Chairperson, PCA Group apprised the AGM about the active engagement of NCCF with PEFC’s Marketing, Communications and Advocacy (MCA) working group’s task forces for various industries (Rubber, Furniture, Textile and Packaging) overarching objective to increase market demand and acceptance of PEFC and PEFC certified products globally.  Accordingly, promotion and marketing strategy for NCCF’s schemes were being developed in consultation with the respective SDGs.

Mr Anil Jauhri updated the AGM about the initiatives taken by the Certification Advisory Group to facilitate activities related to Certification Standards and Schemes’ developments as also to take care of the certification process, accreditation requirements, and certification body requirements.

Mr A.K. Goyal, Chairperson, SDG,  Safeboards informed the AGM that the Safeboards Standards, that offers indigenous solutions to formaldehyde emissions from the composite wood products, was ready for Governing Body’s consideration and approval.

The AGM was also apprised that Draft NWFRs Standard and Draft Ecotourism Certification Standards were ready for pilot testing and QPM Standard would shortly be put on the website for two months public consultation.

AGM approved the Annual Audited Statement of NCCF for 20220-21, presented by Ms Harpreet Kaur,  Head of Finance.

Discussions in the AGM revolved around several new challenges emerging in the forestry and environment sector, requiring NCCF to be more focused and robust in its approach. As an eminent body of experts and professionals and with the diversity of stakeholders, NCCF is well poised to meet the emerging challenges in sustainably managing our natural resources.