India will be hosting a United Nations led conference on bio-diversity from next week but is yet to ratify an important global protocol for sharing benefits from using natural resources with people.
In 2010, India signed Nagoya Protocol for a global regime to share benefits of exploitation of bio-diversity with the locals under Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). Two years later the government is yet to ratify it.
“We will do it very soon. A Cabinet note has been circulated in this regard,” said Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who will also be president of Conference of 193 countries, except United States, for CBD.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be inaugurating the high level segment starting from October 16 in Hyderabad. A fortnight long conference ending on October 18 will discuss four theme areas including conservation of coastal and marine bio-diversity and implementation of Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS).
India already has a regime in place for ABS under the National Bio-diversity Act but it has not been very effective. The law notified in 2003 required that should be a state level biodiversity board and a district level monitoring mechanism.
While 26 states have notified bio-diversity boards, the district mechanism in most states is missing. “The Madhya Pradesh has done the most,” said the environment ministry’s additional secretary M A Farooqui, admitting that other states have been slow in implementing the provisions of the law.
The Nagoya Protocol stipulates strategic plan for biodiversity 2011-2020 with twenty Aichni bio-diversity targets which include atleast 17 % of terrestrial and inland water (from present 13 %) and 10 % of coastal and marine areas (from present 16 %) are conserved. By 2020, the governments need to halve rate of loss of natural habitats including forests.
As preparations for the conference, a science biodiversity express train was flagged off on June 5. The train covering seven states will end its journey in Hyderabad during the conference. The government will also launch an ambitious scheme that every school kid in India attends at least one bio-diversity camp during his or her schooling days. The ministry plans to set up 700 such camps, Natarajan said.