Monthly Archives: October 2012

Global biodiversity meet calls for committing resources

The United Nations’ biodiversity meet here Monday called for committing more resources to achieve targets by 2020, while saying that the developed countries need to shoulder greater responsibility to make this possible.

India, which took over the presidency of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) for the next two years, said the global economic crisis should not deter the countries from making investment to achieve biodiversity targets.

Addressing the meet at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) here, India’s Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said expenditure on biodiversity needed to be looked as an investment that would reap benefits “for us and for our future generations”.

“Present global economic crisis should not deter us, but on the contrary encourage us to investmore towards amelioration of natural capital for ensuring uninterrupted ecosystem services on which all life on earth depends,” she said.

The two-week-long eleventh conference of parties (COP 11) is discussing the progress made and challenges to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which was adopted at COP 10 in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in 2010.

The plan is a 10-year framework for action, including on the 20 biodiversity targets set at the COP 10, and serves as the overall framework for biodiversity work in the UN system.

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets include raising awareness among people on the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably by 2020.

Natarajan pointed out that COP 10 could not agree on targets for funding as a means to achieve Aichi biodiversity targets.

“This is the time of reckoning for us when we have been provided with opportunity to collectively decide on committing resources so as to infuse confidence among parties and generate momentum for implementation of Aichi targets.

“If we miss this one chance it will be our collective failure, making it impossible to achieve Aichi targets by 2020.

“We acknowledge that assessment of biodiversity financing is an ongoing process but some interim commitments and targets on resource mobilisation must be agreed to here, failing which attainment of Aichi targets will be severely impacted considering their time-bound nature,” Natarajan said.

She added the challenge for India and other developing countries was to strike a balance between addressing environmental concerns and the need to eradicate poverty, but for the developed world the challenge was how to change the consumption pattern.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, executive secretary to the CBD, asked developed countries to shoulder greater responsibility in committing resources.

” Yes, we are facing times of financial crisis, but times of crisis are the best opportunities to make substantive changes in the way we do business,” he added.

The CBD executive secretary called upon every party and partner to the convention to select one or more of the Aichi Targets and to become a regional or a global champion for its achievement.

Earlier, talking to reporters, Diaz said: “Every country has a responsibility but the developed countries have additional responsibility.”

He said the business sector as one of the many users of biodiversity, too, “need to reduce their footprint and enhance social and environmental responsibilities”.

Diaz stressed the need for all countries and the governments at all levels to establish green procurement rules.

Amina Mohamed, UN assistant secretary-general and deputy executive director of UNEP, asked parties to step up effort for the early ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.

She noted that the meet came at an opportune and historic moment when the international community just renewed its commitments for sustainable development at the Rio+20 Summit.

“Only time will tell if Rio+20 proves to be a game-changer in humanity’s relationship with the natural world and those essential, multi-trillion dollar services that maintain and support us all,” she added.

Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the CBD is dedicated to promoting sustainable development.

The COP 11 is being attended by over 10,000 delegates from 173 countries and will continue here until Oct 19.

At last, Tamil Nadu gets Biodiversity Board

After a prolonged delay, the State Biodiversity Board was, at last, formed in Tamil Nadu. An order to this effect was issued by the State government on August 17.

A senior Forest official concedes that while Tamil Nadu has just begun its journey, other southern States — Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka — have gone one step further by notifying Biodiversity Rules. Besides, they, which have formed hundreds of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC), are maintaining numerous registers of people engaged in biodiversity conservation.

The delay in forming the Board and the BMCs in the State had an adverse bearing on the implementation of access and benefit sharing (ABS) programme, as stipulated under the National Biodiversity Act 2002. For example, effective conservation of biodiversity, especially outside forest areas, was not carried out. In the absence of these bodies, it would not be possible to regulate rising of medicinal plants, the official points out.

Asked for reaction, Ravikant Upadhyay, Chief Conservator of Forest (Biodiversity), said four Biodiversity Management Committees have been formed in the district of Ramanathapuram. The government has allocated Rs. 7.5 lakh for the State Biodiversity Board, which has distributed 618 solar lanterns to local communities in Ramanathapuram, he adds.

Science Express big hit among students

With India hosting the 11th meeting of Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (COP 11), the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has dedicated eight of its 16 coaches of Science Express exhibition on wheels for showcasing India’s vast biodiversity spread across its vast geographical zones.

Inaugurated on June 5 this year, the exhibition has turned out to be a major success and is attracting more than 10,000 students every day. A teacher from a school in Bellary said, “Finally, rural students have got a chance to see India’s biodiversity in great detail.”

At Ranchi, the train drew a crowd of 80,000 students and teachers in one day. At Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, kids waited in a queue of over three hours to get a glimpse of India’s vast environmental heritage.

The praise is not restricted to urban kids. For rural children, getting to learn that Kerala has 6,000 documented species of insects with more to be named is interesting or that the purple frog was discovered only nine years ago.

This train has already covered 32 destinations and has travelled a distance of 18,000 km. It is expected to cover another 20 destinations before concluding its journey at Gandhinagar on December 22 2012. Continue reading