Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav has said that tribal and other local communities involved in the cultivation and other livelihoods should be exempted from the Biological Diversity Act to find the balance between the development of the local community and conservation of biodiversity. He said that the act will be implemented to lay greater emphasis on the local community interest and encourage research in biodiversity to make necessary changes in policy to ensure more access and benefit-sharing (ABS). “We need to encourage investment for sustainable use with necessary regulation to increase ABS fund, which can be used for conservation of biodiversity and betterment of the local community,” he added.
Speaking at the two-day meeting of the South Asian Consultation Meeting on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in New Delhi on Thursday, he said, South Asia with its over 1.97 billion human populations and high biological diversity face formidable developmental challenges and impediments, which are amplified by the weak socio-economic status and the presence of high natural resource-dependent communities. It is, thus, necessary that these communities are exempted from the act.
Representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Washington, French Embassy in New Delhi, UNDP-India, IUCN Offices in Canada and Singapore, National Geographic, USA and Campaign for Nature, Montreal attended the virtual-cum-real meeting.
Bhupender Yadav said that the country subscribes to the theory and practice of green infrastructure development and “Development with Design,” particularly in the linear infrastructure sector to promote economic development, conservation and connectivity. He said that India has joined over 75 countries that are part of the 30 by 30 High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. While Pakistan and Maldives have joined from South Asia, he urged other countries to join the HAC and requested Global Environment Facility (GEF), Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and Campaign for Nature and others to ensure that timely and adequate resources for developing countries comes. The minister said that the two-day regional consultation will help in developing strategies that would feed into the global meetings of CBD planned in March 2022 in Geneva and for the 15th Conference of Parties of the CBD in China in April-May 2022.
In her speech, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Leena Nandan said that this Convention is a milestone towards developing South Asia perspective and calls for innovative financing methods from GEF.