Biodiversity conservation to be included in green clearance

New Delhi: Conservation of biodiversity will be soon made a criteria for environmental clearances to industrial and mining projects, Government on Friday said.

“…There is no biodiversity clearance now. I would like to assert today that certainly conservation of biodiversity should be a part of both forest as well as environmental clearances. I will make an effort to integrate it-both at the environmental level as well as at the forest level,” Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters while replying to a query.

Her statement came ahead of the UN-sponsored global conference on biodiversity being hosted by India in Hyderabad where the country is expected to consolidate, scale-up and showcase its initiatives and strengths on biodiversity.

India is a recognised megadiverse country rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge. With just 2.4 per cent of the land area, India accounts for nearly 7 per cent of the recorded species even while supporting almost 18 per cent of human and cattle population.

The biotic pressure on our biodiversity is therefore immense. “For India, conservation of its biodiversity is crucial not only because it provides several goods and services necessary for human survival, but also because it is directly linked with providing livelihoods to and improving socio-economic conditions of millions of our local people, thereby contributing to sustainable development and poverty alleviation,” the Minister said.

India is hosting the eleventh Conference of the Parties (CoP-11) to the CBD in Hyderabad from October 1 to 19.

At the opening of CoP-11, the Presidency of CoP will be handed over by Japan, as the host of CoP-10, to India which will lead it for a two-year period ending at the opening of the next CoP.

The three objectives of the Convention are conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

India is a party to the CBD- the first comprehensive global agreement addressing all aspects relating to biodiversity. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the conference October 16.

It is a framework agreement that provides for flexible country-driven approach to its implementation. The Convention has near universal membership with 193 Parties.

USA is the only major country which is not a Party to the CBD.

According to an Environment Ministry release, two protocols have so far been adopted under the aegis of CBD: the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) adopted in 2000, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing adopted in 2010.