The two-day Nagaland Community Conserved Areas Forum (NCCAF) meet commenced today at Clark Theological College in Aolijen, Mokokchung, under the theme “Camaraderie towards safeguarding our biodiversity.”

Nagaland Community Conserved Areas Meet 2024 ctc
Rongsenlemla Imchen IFS | Y Nuklu Phom | Neema Pathak Brome

Y Nuklu Phom, Advisor to the NCCAF and Team Leader of LEMSACHENLOK, shared the vision and scope of strengthening Community Conserved Areas.  ”We cannot work in isolation; we need to come together to face the many challenges,” he said.

Among these challenges, Nuklu Phom mentioned the plantation of alien or exotic crops and their impacts on our land. He emphasized the model of the three C’s, which he uses: Conducive to local soil, Crop compatibility, and Climate adaptability, urging the need for studies in these three areas.

He also highlighted challenges brought about by human activities such as intensive logging, coal mining, the use of salt in fields, and insecticides, which reduce soil productivity and lead to the extinction of ancestral seeds. Nuklu stressed the urgency of involving policymakers, intellectuals, experts, scientists, civil society, and communities to achieve harmonious coexistence with nature.

”The impacts are far-reaching. If we don’t act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy,” Nuklu Phom warned. He further called for a focus on missio-ecology, emphasizing environmental protection in a mission mode, and urged collaboration to redeem biodiversity for sustenance and harmonious coexistence.

The keynote address was delivered by Neema Pathak Brome, Secretary of Kalpavriksh and South Asia Coordinator of the ICCA Consortium. Brome said, “Nagaland is an inspiration for the whole of India and can also be a global leader,” adding that Nagaland is a unique place. She noted that 75% of the area in Nagaland is under forest cover, which is something to be proud of and build upon, calling it a “treasure.”

Brome highlighted that more than 80% of the land is under community control, with 5% under government-protected areas and 14% under community-conserved areas. She emphasized that this 14% could be expanded, not by threatening livelihoods, but by sustaining them, along with culture and the conserved areas.

Brome also pointed out that despite significant data and progress, there is no statewide policy, financial, technical, and legal support for CCAs. She assured that organizations like Kalpavriksh, FES, and others will remain committed to supporting CCA organizations.

Nagaland Community Conserved Areas Meet 2024
Special guest Rongsenlemla Imchen along with officials of NCCAF, Kalpavrishk and Principal CTC during the release of the working paper on Technical Guidance Document for Nagaland CCA during the Nagaland Community Conserved Areas Meet 2024 at CTC, Aolijen on June 19.

The Chief Guest, Rongsenlemla Imchen, IFS, CF, NTC, Department of Forest & Climate Change, Government of Nagaland, stated that conservation has no boundaries. She mentioned that NCCAF is the right platform for expanding the conservation movement in Nagaland through shared innovative ideas and initiatives. She emphasized that NCCAF is important as it brings all villages and CCAs onto a common platform to address their issues and challenges collectively.

She informed that the Forest Department’s mandate includes expanding the Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) using a landscape approach. She encouraged intersectoral convergence between villages regarding community conservation to meet NCCAF’s objectives. Given the unique landholding system in Nagaland, she highlighted the department’s goal to bring most of the land into forest conservation. She noted that community conservation areas contribute significantly to mitigating and adapting approaches, trapping harmful gases, and maintaining ecological balance, which should be practiced. However, she acknowledged the challenge of balancing conservation with alternative livelihood sources, calling for collaborative efforts from all sectors. She concluded by stating that meetings like this promote unity and mutual respect among CCAs and various sectors.

There are 34 Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) in Nagaland, and 230 delegates registered for the Nagaland Community Conserved Area Meet 2024. Heirang Lunglang, Chairperson of NCCAF, delivered the welcome speech and introduced the Nagaland Community Conserved Area Forum (NCCAF). Ruchinilo Kemp, Co-convenor of the meet, explained that the two-day event aims to highlight the vision, scope of engagement, experiences, and learnings from various collaborative projects of the NCCAF. The meet will also facilitate networking and foster solidarity among Nagaland’s CCAs while raising awareness and building capacity on biodiversity conservation topics.

The event features a walk-in exhibition from various CCAs, showcasing and raising awareness of the bio-cultural diversity of CCA landscapes and biodiversity. It aims to enhance the visibility of diverse initiatives by the NCCAF, CCAs in Nagaland, and CCA-supporting organizations, promoting cross-learning and inspiring action.

Mokokchung Times

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