Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a loan agreement with Indian government to provide Japanese ODA loan amounting to JPY 9,308 million (approximately ₹520 crore) for the Project for Forest and Biodiversity Conservation for Climate Change Response in West Bengal (WB-FBCCCR).

The objective of the project is to mitigate and adapt to climate change and conserve and restore ecosystems by adopting ecosystem-based climate change measures, biodiversity conservation, livelihood improvement activities and institutional strengthening, thereby contributing to the sustainable socioeconomic development in West Bengal, said an official statement.

The loan agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and SAITO Mitsunori, Chief Representative, JICA India office. “In continuation to our previous successful support for West Bengal Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Project from 2012 to 2022, we are delighted to collaborate with West Bengal government again.

Under the new project, we shall be focusing on tackling climate change through enhanced interventions in a more scientific manner for efficient planning and monitoring. West Bengal government and JICA have agreed that, at the beginning of this project, several pilot projects using digital technology shall be implemented leveraging India’s huge IT capacity to provide solutions to various challenges that the forestry sector faces,” Mitsunori said in the statement.

West Bengal is endowed with long topography and varied flora and fauna, but the State’s forest cover has not achieved either its national goal of 33 per cent or the national average of 25 per cent due to urbanisation, excessive pressure on forest resources. The project will help tackle climate change and conserve forests and biodiversity in the State.