Thursday, June 19, 2008

A win-win in sustainable developement...

In this article, The Economist strongly argues for involvement of local communities in preservation and sustainable development of forests in which they dwell. Further on, it states that poor people who rely on nature's gifts for their livelyhood, should be helped to help themselves. The Forest Rights Bill that the Indian government is considering at this point, if enacted, would mark a huge step forward in securing the rights of forest dwelling adivasis. The Bill also provides tribal communities the right to protect and manage any ‘community forest resource’ that they have been traditionally conserving, and to impose penalties on anyone violating traditional rules of conservation. This could be an impetus to the villagers of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, who are protecting forests despite not having the legitimacy by law.

Finally, all this lands up at the door step of prosperity of these masses. For these people, wildlife provides not only cash but food and health care (in the form of natural medicines). That is particularly important for the world's poorest people, like those in India, since any poverty-reduction efforts depend on the survival of natural wildlife. Wildlife trade also provides cash that helps children go to school, get better education and move up the value chain.
Finally a win win situation and hopefully a solution no one will be able to hijack for pseudo-social activism. 

I just hope the bill sees the light of day!

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