Convention on Biological Diversity Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
The International Bio-diversity Day is observed every year on 22 May to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme this year is ‘Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity’. It marks 25th anniversary of entry into force of Convention on Biological Diversity (at United Nations Environment Progamme Headquarters, Nairobi on 22 May 1992) and to highlight progress made in achievement of its objectives at national and global levels. The day was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly in 2000 via resolution 55/201
On the occasion, National Mission for Clean Ganga and World Wildlife Federation (WWF)-India jointly organised workshop Ganga and its Bio-diversity: Developing a Road Map for Habitat and Species Conservation in New Delhi. The workshop was aimed at forming integrated approach for conservation of Ganga’s ecology, environment and bio-diversity by restoring Ganga’s ecological integrity.
The term Biological Diversity (or Biodiversity) was first coined by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in 1968. This term became widespread in use during 1980s. Biodiversity refers to totality of genes, species and ecosystems of a region. There are three levels of biodiversity viz. species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity. The term biodiveristy is used to address several problems in conservation of environment including loss of species, destruction of habitats, invasive species, genetic pollution, over exploitation and effects of climate change on biodiversity.
Biodiversity is unequally distributed on Earth and it varies across regions on the basis of climatic and geographical factors. On earth, highest biodiversity is found in tropics. In comparison to Oceans, terrestrial biodiversity is much greater. The terrestrial biodiversity is greater at equator in comparison to poles. Around 90% of world’s biodiversity is found in tropical rainforests which occupy less than 10% of Earth’s surface. The marine biodiversity is highest along coasts in Western Pacific which is known for highest sea temperature.
Convention on Biological Diversity
CBD (commonly known as Biodiversity Convention) is legally binding document, which came asoutcome of Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 and entered into force in December 1993. Its objectives are conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. The idea is to develop national strategies for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. 198 countries/territories including India are parties to CBD. United States has signed but not ratified convention.