Shyam Sundar Jyani has been campaigning for Familial Forestry for over 15 years

Rajasthan-based climate activist Shyam Sundar Jyani has won this year's prestigious United Nations' Land for Life Award for his environment conservation concept, Familial Forestry. The announcement was made on Thursday by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The UNCCD praised Familial Forestry of Rajasthan as "a unique concept of Shyam Sunder Jyani that relates a tree with a family, making it a green family member".

Jyani was chosen by the UNCCD for the Land For Life Award 2021 among 12 shortlisted candidates across the globe. Two candidates had been shortlisted from India - the other being Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadguru, who has been campaigning for environmental causes for several years.

Shyam Sundar Jyani, an associate professor of Sociology in Rajasthan's Bikaner, has been campaigning for Familial Forestry for over 15 years.

Launched at the UNCCD COP (Conference of Parties) 10 in 2011, the Land for Life Award is considered as the world's highest reward regarding land conservation and restoration. This year's theme was "Healthy Land, Healthy Lives".

“The journey of desertland Rajasthan towards a lush green Rajasthan has been a dream for me, and Familial Forestry is my dedicated endeavor in this direction,” Jyani was quoted as saying in a UNCCD report.

The UNCCD in its statement said, "Familial Forestry means transferring the care of tree and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family's consciousness. More than a million families from more than 15,000 villages of desert-prone northwest Rajasthan in over 2.5 million saplings have been planted in the past 15 years, with active participation of students and desert dwellers."

Placing a family at the cornerstone of society, the concept ensures the success of any social campaign, it said.