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In the forests inhabited by the Bugun tribe in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, 10 village boys take turns every week to patrol a 17 square kilometre special area. Trained by the Special Task Force of the Tamil Nadu police, the local youth are voluntary participants in what is probably the state’s first government-community collaboration in the forest conservation sector.

On May 22, the NGO won the India Biodiversity Award 2018 in the “Conservation of wildlife species”  category conferred by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and presented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in association with the United Nations Development Programme in Hyderabad. There were nine winners and 14 special mentions spread across four categories.

The best system of governance entails a seamless collaboration between governments and the communities they govern, with trust being reposed on either side. One can cite numerous examples of how such an alliance results in better governance outcomes.

In Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, one can witness this form of partnership between the members of the Bugun tribal community from Singchung village and the local Forest Department. Together, they make up the Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve Management Committee (SBVCR).

The alliance was formalised in January 2017, and earlier this week, this community reserve was awarded the India Biodiversity Award in the “Conservation of Wildlife Species” category for its effort to conserve the critically endangered bird—Bugun liocichla.

To the uninitiated, the award is conferred by the National Biodiversity Association, and this year it was presented by the Union environment ministry and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The community reserve, considered a biodiversity hotspot, covers an area of 17 square kilometres, and is adjacent to the to the Eaglesnest Wildlife Sanctuary (EWS).