Wednesday, 3 October 2012

MOP6/COP11: India, a mega biodiversity country protects its forests well

By yed Akbar
Hyderabad: India, which has emerged as the best example
nation on biodiversity conservation, will lead the world for the next
two years as president of the 193-nation Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD).

India will formally take the reins of the CBD presidency at the start
of the 11th Conference of Parties (COP) on October 8. India, though a
fast developing nation with 1.2 billion people, is the least polluting
nation. It is a mega-diverse country rich in biodiversity and
associated traditional knowledge, which includes Ayurveda, Unani,
Siddha and tribal (ethno) medicine.

A concept note of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests states
that with just 2.4 per cent of the global land area, India accounts
for nearly 7 per cent of the recorded species even while supporting
almost 18 per cent of human population as well as cattle population.
The biotic (human and animal) pressure on India’s biodiversity is
quite immense and yet it could conserve the ethnic flora and fauna
from extinction.

”Despite intense biotic pressure, India has been able to harbour 7 to
8 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. While most developing
countries have lost forest cover, India has added around 3 million
hectares of forests and tree cover in the last three decades,” the
concept note points out.

India is already recognised as a pioneer and trendsetter on
biodiversity issues, and is a major player. The new role of CBD
presidency is yet another feather on the nation’s cap. India takes the
reins from Japan, which hosted COP-10.

“On biodiversity, India speaks from a position of strength. Hosting of
CoP-11 is a culmination of the biodiversity agenda being pursued by
India during last few years. The event provides India with an
opportunity to consolidate, scale-up and showcase its initiatives and
strengths on biodiversity,” it added.

It has the potential and capability to emerge as the world leader in
conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to set the
global agenda on biodiversity in the context of sustainable
livelihoods during the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020.

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