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What is Biodiversity

  1. Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of life on earth and forms the foundation of the vast array of ecosystem services that contribute to human well-being. It provides food, fuel, shelter, medicine and other products which are vital for survival of life on earth. Biodiversity manifests itself at three levels: Genetic diversity which refers to genetic variation within species; species diversity which refers to the numbers and kinds of living organisms; and ecosystem diversity which denotes the variety of habitats, biological communities and ecological processes.
  2. India is a megadiverse country rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. Livelihoods of millions of people in India depend on biodiversity. Conservation of biodiversity is therefore a national priority.
  3. Extinction of species and gradual changes in ecological communities, is a natural phenomena. However, the pace of extinction has increased dramatically as a result of human activities. Ecosystems are being fragmented or eliminated, and several species are in decline. The fragmentation, degradation, and loss of habitats pose serious threat to biological diversity. These losses are irreversible and pose a threat to our own well being, considering our dependence on food crop and medicines and other biological resources.

Convention on Biological Diversity

  1. Global concern about loss of species and ecosystems is expressed in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD, one of the two key agreements adopted during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, is the first comprehensive global agreement which addresses all aspects relating to biodiversity. The CBD, which has near universal membership 196 countries as its Parties, sets out commitments for maintaining the world’s ecological underpinnings, while pursuing economic development. India is a Party to the CBD. The Convention, while reaffirming sovereign rights of nations over their biological resources, establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
  2. India is a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal Ministry for implementation of CBD in India. India is recognized as a leader on biodiversity conservation in developing and implementing relevant legal and policy regimes.
  3. Two Protocols have been adopted so far under the aegis of CBD: the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000); and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (2010).

National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and National Biodiversity Targets

  1. There are two mandatory obligations of CBD on all Parties: preparation of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) as provided for in Article 6and preparation of National Reports as provided for in Article 26.
  2. Article 6 of CBD enjoins upon all Parties to prepare national strategies, plans or programmes for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (commonly called NBSAPs), and to integrate conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into relevant sectoral and cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies.
  3. NBSAPs or equivalent documents are the principle instruments for implementing the CBD at the national level. The CBD requires countries to prepare NBSAPs and to ensure that these plans are mainstreamed into planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact on biodiversity.
  4. Pursuant to ratification of CBD, a National Policy and Macrolevel Action Strategy on Biodiversity was prepared by India in 1999 through a consultative process, as a macro level statement of existing policies and programmes, gaps and further actions needed for conservation and sustainable use.
  5. After approval of National Environment Policy (NEP) in 2006, updation of 1999 document was taken up in consonance with NEP, and using the report of an externally aided project on preparation of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. India prepared its second generation National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) in 2008. There are 175 action points in India’s NBAP, 2008 under the eleven broad thematic areas.
  6. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has declared 2011-2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity to enhance awareness about the importance of and threats to biodiversity. Coinciding with the Decade, the CBD adopted in 2010 a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2011-2020, with five goals and 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as an ambitious plan for inspiring broad-based action in support of biodiversity over the decade by all countries and stakeholders. The Strategic Plan is an overarching framework on biodiversity not only for CBD and other biodiversity related conventions, but for the entire UN system.
  7. With the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 including the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, Parties to the CBD were required to revise and update the NBSAPs by integrating the national targets.
  8. Accordingly, 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs) in line with 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been developed by India, and the NBAP, 2008 updated in 2014. Associated indicators and monitoring framework has also been developed by India to provide a roadmap for achieving the NBTs.
  9. The role of biodiversity is recognized through its inclusion across many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets. Though SDGs 14 and 15 are primarily focussed on biodiversity and natural resource management, biodiversity is also reflected in various other SDGs.

National Reports to the CBD

  1. The CBD enjoins Parties to present reports on measures taken for implementation of the Convention and their effectiveness in meeting Convention’s objectives. National reporting is a continuing requirement.
  2. Preparation of National Reports at regular intervals helps a Party monitor and review the status of implementation of the Convention while identifying gaps in its capacity, constraints and impediments. India has submitted her First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth National Reports in 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2014, respectively.
  3. Sixth National Report (NR 6) to CBD is required to be submitted by December 2018. Towards this, the Ministry is organizing a series of five Regional Consultations covering all States/UTs in August and September 2017, followed by a National Consultation in October 2017, for enhancing awareness about NBT and seeking inputs for NR 6. A brochure on  ‘Consultation on Mainstreaming Biodiversity’ has been prepared for this purpose. The same has also been tabulated into Hindi and several regional languages. A dedicated web portal has been developed (www.nationalreport.6.com) for inviting stakeholders to provide information/material about their work on biodiversity as inputs to the Sixth National Report.

Celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22nd May

  1. The UN has proclaimed 22nd May, the date when CBD’s text was adopted in 1992, as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) to enhance awareness about the threats to and importance of biodiversity is sustaining life on this planet. Every year, the CBD identifies a theme for IDB. The Day is celebrated all over the country on 22nd May. The national event for IDB 2017 was held on 22nd May 2017 in Goa.
 

 

Hosting of Eleventh Conference of Parties (CoP-11) to the CBD and CoP Presidency

  1. India hosted the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held from 8-19 October 2012, in Hyderabad, India. The event provided India with an opportunity to consolidate, scale-up and showcase our strengths on biodiversity. The meetings were presided over by the Minister for Environment and Forests, India as the President of CoP-11. The High Level Segment was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India. CoP-11 was the largest ever such conference organized in India. Thousands of delegates representing 175 countries, other governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental, non-governmental, indigenous and local community organizations, academia and the private sector participated in CoP-11.
  2. India in her two-year Presidency till CoP-12 in October 2014, guided and steered the implementation of the decisions of CoP-11, and also supporting capacity building initiatives for other developing countries, in addition to strengthening the ongoing efforts for biodiversity conservation at the national level. India had also taken up a number of biodiversity related activities, some of them quite unique and innovative, during her Presidency. These inter alia include: positioning of Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS) train as the brand Ambassador of CoP-11 for creating large-scale awareness on biodiversity issues, and following its resounding success, the second, and third phases of SEBS launched in 2013 and 2014; and adopting the logo and slogan of CoP-11 as the new logo and slogan of this Ministry. The hosting of CoP-11, including the genesis, background, preparation and the event itself, has been documented in the form of a booklet on ‘Hosting of CoP-11 by India: A Pictorial Presentation’. Another document, ‘A Panoramic View of India’s Presidency of CoP to CBD 2012-2014’, giving information on the important activities undertaken during India’s Presidency of CoP, has also been brought out.
  3. Thirteen CoPs have been held so far. The last CoP was held in Cancun, Mexico. A report on India’s participation ‘India at Cancun’ has been prepared.

 

 

Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing

 Nagoya Protocol on ABS

 A Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) was adopted in 2010 under the aegis of CBD after six years of intense negotiations to further develop the ABS framework provided by the Convention. India has made significant positive contributions in these negotiations. The objective of this Protocol is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The Protocol has entered into force on 12th October 2014. India signed the Protocol on 11th May 2011, and ratified it on 9th October, 2012.

  1. As provided for in Article 13 of the Nagoya Protocol, India has designated the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change as National Focal Point, and designated National Biodiversity Authority as a Competent National Authority.
  2. The Nagoya Protocol requires Parties to issue a permit or its equivalent at the time of access as evidence that access to genetic resources was based on prior informed consent and that mutually agreed terms were established. The Protocol further requires that Parties make information on the permit or its equivalent available to the CBD’s ABS Clearing House for it to constitute an Internationally Recognised Certificate of Compliance (IRCC). India became the first country to publish IRCC on 1st October 2015 under the Nagoya Protocol. As in September 2017, India has published 74 IRCCs on the ABS Clearing House.

 India is in the process of finalizing Interim National Report to the Nagoya Protocol, which is to be submitted to the CBD Secretariat by 1st November 2017.

 Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Biological Diversity Act

    1. Pursuant to the CBD, India enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002, and notified Biological Diversity Rules in 2004, to give effect to the provisions of this Convention, including those relating to ABS. The Act is implemented through a three-tiered institutional mechanism at the national, state and local levels. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has been set up in October, 2003 in Chennai. As per Section 8(4) of the Act, the NBA consists of a Chairperson, five non-official and ten ex-officio members to be appointed by the Central Government to represent various Ministries.
    2. The vision of NBA is the conservation and sustainable use of India’s rich biodiversity and associated knowledge with peoples participation, ensuring the process of benefit sharing for well being of present and future generations. The mission of NBA is to ensure effective implementation of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and the Biological Diversity Rules 2004 for conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilization of genetic resources.
    3. The NBA inter alia deals with all matters relating to requests for access by foreign individuals, institutions or companies, and transfer of results of research to any foreigner. The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) constituted by the State Governments deals with all matters relating to access by Indians for commercial purposes. The institutions of self-governments are required to set up Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) in their respective areas for conservation, sustainable use, documentation of biodiversity and chronicling of knowledge related to biodiversity.
    4. An e-application process for NBA has been launched on 30th March 2017. This online process is user-friendly and has features such as editing, reviewing, printing, digital signature, online payment of fee etc. The portal provides a step-by-step guide for e-filing of applications, along with tool tips/pop up messages to assist the applicants.
 
  1. Details about the Biological Diversity Act and Rules, procedures, notifications, regulations, guidelines, institutional mechanism and activities may be seen at NBA’s website www.nbaindia.org.

Projects on biodiversity implemented through NBA

 

  1. Some important projects on biodiversity developed by the Ministry which are being implemented through NBA are listed below.

 

S. No. Name of the project Relevant details Status
 1 UNEP GEF MoEFCC project on capacity building for ABS 5.1m USD;  Ten States (West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tripura, Karnataka, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha, Gujarat) Ongoing, on extension up to December 2017.
 2 Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL) Technical cooperation with Norway (contribution 16.5m NoK, approx. 2m USD). India’s contribution 22m NoK, approx. 2.6 USD. Ongoing, extended up to December 2018.
 3 Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) Total Budget (2015-2018) USD 1.05 Million.

Project Hosted by: National Biodiversity Authority

 

Technical agency: Wildlife Institute of India and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

 

PMU: UNDP New Delhi and National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai.

 

Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for BIOFIN India is chaired by Prof. Damodaran (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore)

Project period up to December 2018
 4 NBA-ACB cooperation project on biodiversity Approx 1m USD, under ASEAN-India Green Fund Approved. PSC in August 2016.
 5 Global UNDP/GEF project on  ABS 350,000 USD. To focus on researchers, academia Global project approved.
 6 GIZ technical cooperation project on ABS Euro 3 million TC Agreement signed. IA to be signed shortly

 

Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

 

  1. The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was established by the Governments in April 2012 as the biodiversity counterpart of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , for strengthening the science-policy interface on biodiversity so as to provide policy makers with reliable, independent and credible information on biodiversity, thus promoting human well-being and sustainable development through sustainable use of biodiversity (www.ipbes.net).
  2. India is a Member State of IPBES. As in September 2017, more than 125 Governments are member States of IPBES.
  3. The major functions of IPBES are: to undertake assessments on specific themes and methodological issues at regional and global levels; to provide policy support; to build capacity and knowledge and to enhance communications and outreach. The assessments are conducted by leading experts selected from all regions based on nominations from Governments. As the national focal point for IPBES, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change follows an open, broad-based and transparent process for sending nominations of suitable experts as authors/reviewers of these assessments, by inviting nominations from concerned Ministries/organizations, and uploading these letters on Ministry’s website.
  4. So far, IPBES has come out with two reports on: (i) methodological assessment of scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services; and (ii) thematic assessment of pollination and food production. Presently, a thematic assessment on land degradation and restoration, and global and four regional assessments on biodiversity and ecosystem services are under preparation by IPBES. Several Indian experts including those nominated by the Government have been associated in preparation/review of these assessment reports.