Convention on Biological Diversity Current Affairs - 2020

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India attends International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

India attended the eighth session of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) at Rome, Italy. Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Tomar attended the session representing India.

The Treaty is in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity. The treaty was negotiated through FAO.

About the session

  • The Governing sessions of the treaty are biennial.
  • Around 146 countries participated in the session
  • International organizations such as FAO, UN were also part of the session

About the Treaty

It is also known as the “Seed Treaty”. It is an international agreement to ensure food security by exchange of world’s plant genetic resources of food and agriculture. It also aims at conservation and sustainable use of seed varieties

Objectives

The International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is based on the following principles

  • Countries depend on plant genetic resources to produce food
  • To provide a broad integrated global system that will provide easy access of genetic materials to scientists, farmers and plant breeders
  • To help farmers on crop selection that adapts to unpredictable environmental changes and human needs.

The treaty provides a list of 64 crop species and their facilitated access.

India’s Nodal Agencies of the Treaty

In India, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is the nodal agency that fulfills the objective of the treaty. However, the ministry responsible to fulfil the treaty is Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as the guidelines of the treaty are completely based on environment resilience.

India’s Legislation

The Indian laws that abide by the treaty are as follows

  • Protection of plant varieties and farmers rights act
  • Biological Diversity Act, 2002. Along with the treaty, the act is also pursuant to India’s commitment towards United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity.

India submits sixth national report to Convention of Biological Diversity

India has submitted its sixth national report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighting the progress it has made in achieving the 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT) set under the convention process.

The report was submitted to the CBD Secretariat by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan during the inaugural session of the 13th National Meeting of the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs). The Minister also released the document “Progress on India’s National Biodiversity Targets: A Preview” on the occasion.

Highlights of the Report

India was among the first five countries in the world, the first in Asia and the first among the biodiversity-rich megadiverse countries to have submitted NR6 to the CBD Secretariat. The major findings of the report are:

  • India has already achieved two targets and was on track to achieve another eight soon. The remaining two would be met by the stipulated time of 2020.
  • While the biodiversity is facing increasing pressure on account of habitat fragmentation and destruction, invasive alien species, pollution, climate change and over-use of resources globally, India is one of the few countries where forest cover is on the rise, with its forests teeming with wildlife.
  • India has done well in raising awareness about biodiversity.
  • India is a megadiverse country harbouring nearly 7 to 8 per cent of globally recorded species while supporting 18 per cent of the global human population on a mere 2.4 per cent of the worlds land area. India’s is pursuing its economic development by maintaining the integrity of its natural capital through various programmes and strategies.
  • India has adopted measures for sustainable management of agriculture, fisheries and forests, with a view to ensure food and nutritional security to all without destroying the natural resource base while ensuring intergenerational environmental equity.
  • India has put programmes in place to maintain genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farms livestock and their wild relatives, towards minimising genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity
  • Mechanisms and enabling environment are being created for recognising and protecting the vast heritage of coded and oral traditional knowledge relating to biodiversity for larger human welfare while safeguarding the interests and rights of the local communities as creators and holders of this knowledge.
  • India is investing a huge amount on biodiversity directly or indirectly through several development schemes of the Central and state governments which is to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore per annum as against the estimated annual requirement of nearly Rs 1,09,000 crore.

National Biodiversity Targets of India

The 12 National Biodiversity targets of India are:

  • By 2020, a significant proportion of the country’s population, especially the youth, is aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
  • By 2020, values of biodiversity are integrated into national and state planning processes, development programmes and poverty alleviation strategies.
  • Strategies for reducing the rate of degradation, fragmentation and loss of all natural habitats are finalized and actions put in place by 2020 for environmental amelioration and human well-being.
  • By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and strategies to manage them developed so that populations of prioritized invasive alien species are managed.
  • By 2020, measures are adopted for sustainable management of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
  • Ecologically representative areas under terrestrial and inland water, and also coastal and marine zones, especially those of particular importance for species, biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved effectively and equitably, based on protected area designation and management and other area-based conservation measures and are integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes, covering over 20% of the geographic area of the country, by 2020.
  • By 2020, genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farm livestock, and their wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.
  • By 2020, ecosystem services, especially those relating to water, human health, livelihoods and well-being, are enumerated and measures to safeguard them are identified, taking into account the needs of women and local communities, particularly the poor and vulnerable sections.
  • By 2015, Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization as per the Nagoya Protocol are operational, consistent with national legislation.
  • By 2020, an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity action plan is made operational at different levels of governance.
  • By 2020, national initiatives using communities’ traditional knowledge relating to biodiversity are strengthened, with the view to protecting this knowledge in accordance with national legislation and international obligations.
  • By 2020, opportunities to increase the availability of financial, human and technical resources to facilitate effective implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the national targets are identified and the Strategy for Resource Mobilization is adopted.

India is the hub of biodiversity. India has nearly two-thirds of the population of wild tigers in the world. The population of the lion has increased from 177 in 1968 to over 520 in 2015, and elephants from 12,000 in the 1970s to 30,000 in 2015. One-horned Indian Rhino which was on the brink of extinction during the early 20th century, now number 2,400. India is leading the global efforts in conserving biodiversity.