New Delhi : A two-day meeting of the South Asian Consultation Meeting on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was held in New Delhi today. The meeting was attended by the representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in addition to representatives from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal; the Global Environmental Facility, Washington; French Embassy in New Delhi; UNDP-India; IUCN Offices in Canada and Singapore; National Geographic, USA and Campaign for Nature; Montreal in this virtual cum real meeting.
In his address Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav said that 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 also necessary that tribal and other local communities which are cultivating or doing other activities for their livelihood should be exempted from the Biological Diversity Act to find balance between development of the local community and conservation of biodiversity, he added.
He also said that Biological Diversity Act will be implemented to lay greater emphasis on the local community interest and to encourage research in the area of biodiversity to make necessary changes in policy to ensure more Access & 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”, the Minister added.
Shri Bhupender Yadav said that the country subscribe to the theory and practice of green infrastructure development and “Development with Design” particularly in the linear infrastructure sector that we build to promote economic development, conservation and connectivity. He said conservation is mainstreamed in all sectors of economic development under the philosophy of “Development without Destruction”.
The Minister said that India has joined over 75 countries that are part of the 30 by 30 High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. In South Asia, already Pakistan and Maldives have joined. He urged other countries to join HAC and also requested GEF, Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and Campaign for Nature and others to ensure that timely and adequate resources for developing countries. 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, Ms. Leena Nandan said that this Convention is a milestone towards developing South Asia perspective and calls for innovative financing methods from GEF.