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Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainability, and Equity: India's NBSAP outcomes

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India's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process in 2000-2003 was possibly the world's largest such exercise, involving over 50,000 people from all walks of life. It resulted in over 70 …

India's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process in 2000-2003 was possibly the world's largest such exercise, involving over 50,000 people from all walks of life. It resulted in over 70 action plans at local, state, thematic, ecoregional, and national levels. Several methods were used to elicit participation and get inputs, including from local communities. This presentation describes the results, including the key strategies and actions on conservation, sustainable use, equity, governance, and planning. It also notes that unfortunately the Government of India pulled out of the final product, perhaps worried about its clear recommendation that the economy and polity needed fundamental changes if biodiversity conservation and related social equity were to be achieved.

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  • 1. Biodiversity in IndiaHighlights of theFinal Technical Reportof theNational BiodiversityStrategy and Action Plan
  • 2. What is biodiversity?• The variety of life around usEcosystem diversity(forests, farmlands)Species diversity(bamboo, rice)Genetic diversity(30 varieties of rice)Ecosystem diversity(forests, farmlands)Species diversity(bamboo, rice, foresttrees)Genetic diversity(Varieties of rice)
  • 3. India’s biodiversity: Ecosystems• Natural ecosystem diversity– 10 Biogeographic Zones– > 200 types of forest, 5-6 grassland,13 wetland, 3 desert, marine/coastalSunita Rao
  • 4. India’s biodiversity: Ecosystems• Agricultural ecosystem diversity– 20 Agro-Ecological Zones– Settled, shifting– Cultivated, pastoral, fisheries
  • 5. India’s biodiversity: Species• 8% of world’s diversity on 2.4% of its area• Wild species diversity– 47,000 wild plant species(33% flowering plants endemicto India)
  • 6. India’s biodiversity: Species• Wild species diversity– 90,000 wild animal species (62% amphibiansendemic)– ? Species of micro-organisms
  • 7. India’s biodiversity: Species• Domesticated species diversity– 166 crop species originate in India– Amongst world’s highest livestock diversity
  • 8. India’s biodiversity: GeneticGenetic diversity within each species– Diversification within crops/livestock, e.g.• Rice: 50,000 - 300,000 varieties• Mango: >1000 varieties• Sorghum: >5000 varieties• 27 cattle, 40 sheep, 22 goat, 18 poultrybreeds• Centre of diversity for rice, wheat, sugarcane,legumes, sesame, eggplant,okra, citrus, banana, mango,jamun, jute, ginger, millets….
  • 9. Why is biodiversity important?• Ethical / moral: all species have a right to theearth’s resources• Humanity’s survival: climatic stability,water cycles, oxygen, soil fertility…defence against disasters
  • 10. Why is biodiversity important?• Ecosystem-dependent people (70% of India’spopulation): food, medicine, livelihoods, fuel,shelter, clothing: use of over 10,000plant/animal species
  • 11. Why is biodiversity important?• Agricultural/industrial development: geneticresources, raw materials• Aesthetic resource
  • 12. Destruction of India’s biodiversity• Habitat loss– >50% forest disappeared in last 200years– >70% waterbodies polluted or drainedout– >40% mangroves destroyedSmitu Kothari
  • 13. Destruction of India’s biodiversity• Species loss– >6% of wild plants/animals threatened– 2 mammals, 3 birds, 15-20 plants extinct– 2/3rds species could become extinct in next 50years• Genetic loss– Most indigenous agricultural diversitythreatenedVivek Gour-Broome
  • 14. Impacts of biodiversity loss• Climatic, water, soil instability• Productivity loss in natural & agricultural ecosystems• Loss of livelihood resources (esp. from CPRs)• Loss of critical health/nutrition inputs• Less resilience for farmers/pastoralists, narrowinggenetic base for country’s agriculture• Loss of potential medicinal and industrial benefits• Erosion of traditional knowledge baseGREATEST IMPACT ON THE POOR
  • 15. One Vision of the Future:National Biodiversity Strategyand Action Plan• 70 action plans across country: local,state, ecoregional, thematic• National plan built from these
  • 16. India’s most participatory planning exercise:India’s most participatory planning exercise:workshops, public hearings, festivals, yatras,workshops, public hearings, festivals, yatras,students’ events, boat/cycle rallies...students’ events, boat/cycle rallies...
  • 17. NBSAP:Key Strategies and Actions• Conservation of biodiversity• Sustainable use of biological resources• Equity in decision-making, benefit-sharing• Laws/policies, awareness/education, capacity,funding, technologies
  • 18. NBSAP:Key Strategies and ActionsConserving wild biodiversity (wildlife):• Expansion of conserved sites (protected areas,community conserved sites, heritage sites,IBAs, etc) to 10% of India, with 2% inviolate• Greater focus on threatened species, incl. plantsand small fauna
  • 19. Official protected areas• Nearly 600 protected areas• Need to move towards participatoryconservation, e.g. Periyar, ChilikaChilika LagoonB a y o fB e n g a l
  • 20. GaddisChangpasPipensHeronriesTraditionaltanksYuksamBishnoisSacredmangrovesSacredgrovesTragopan, andGolden langurprotectionTurtleconservationTurtleconservationCommunityForestryVan PanchayatsGrasslandmanagement JFMCOMMUNITY CONSERVED AREASArvariSansadSacredgroves
  • 21. Conservation of India’sbiodiversity (contd.)• Domesticated ecosystems andplants/animals
  • 22. NBSAP:Key Strategies and ActionsConserving agricultural biodiversity• Notifying agrobiodiversity protected areas andlandscapes• Linking Public Distribution System and localgrains• Promoting organic and biodiverse food• Reviving home gardens, encouraging urbanagriculture
  • 23. Conserving agricultural biodiversityPeople’s initiatives•Beej Bachao Andolan: Himalayan crops•Deccan Development Society: Dryland crops•SEVA, ANTHRA, Lokhit Pashu Palak Sansthan: Livestock•Others: Navadanya, Green Foundation, ADS, Timbuktu Collective
  • 24. •Reviving traditional diversity, promoting cultivated and wild foods•Securing people’s access and control over ex situ collections•Creating community gene banks•Empowering women/dalit farmers, securing land rights•Creating consumer-producer links (Zaheerabad org. food restaurant)•Linking to PDSDDS: integrating conservation, equity,& livelihoods through agrobiodiversity
  • 25. Root causes of biodiversity loss• Unsustainable model of development, lackof integration of biodiversity intodevelopment sectors
  • 26. • ‘Development’ vs. biodiversity in aglobalising world– Biodiversity as a raw material or dump– Commercialisation and privatisation ofbio-resources for urban/industrialconsumption / trade– Absence of environmental orientation inrural development and poverty alleviationapproaches– Monocultural visions (e.g. agriculture)– Lack of recognition of full value ofbiodiversity (e.g. mangroves w.r.t.cyclones and tsunami…or Mumbai’swater security!)
  • 27. NBSAP:Key Strategies and Actions• Re-orientation of development model, withbiodiversity and livelihoods as central concerns• Planning at landscape (and seascape) levels; buildingup to national land/water use plan• Integration of biodiversity into all sectoralplanning….EIAs• Full valuation of biodiversity into economic planningand budgeting
  • 28. Root causes of biodiversity loss• Inequities in decision-making and control overnatural resources• Alienation of communities from resource base;erosion of traditional rights/practices
  • 29. NBSAP:Key Strategies and Actions• Governance of natural resources starting from smallestdecision-making unit at village and city level…strengthening institutions of self-governance(panchayats, village assemblies, tribal councils,district committees…)• Participatory protected area management• Community management or participation across ruraland urban landscape
  • 30. Root causes of biodiversity loss• Cultural/ethical valuechanges….consumerism!
  • 31. NBSAP:Key Strategies and Actions• Sustaining livelihoods based on biologicalresources(forest, aquatic, agricultural produce)Challenge: how to make these sustainable and equitable– Impact assessment of human uses– Rights and responsibilities– Controlling the market– Special privileges to marginalised sections– Promoting, protecting traditional knowledge
  • 32. NBSAP:Key Strategies and ActionsTools….• Enhancing knowledge of biodiversity and impactsof human use (including indirect impacts ofconsumerism)• Maintaining publicly accessible databases• Doing outreach, communication, education,training• Generating and using appropriate technologies• Generating innovative funding, taxing luxuryconsumerism
  • 33. The struggle continues…• Final national document not accepted by government(though several local/state plans accepted and beingimplemented)• National report published and disseminated by civil society• After 3 years (2007), government comes out with its ownversion of action plan….very dilute, general, unfocused• Why did people’s plan not become official plan?– Too ambitious?– Lack of interest?– Vision too radically different from ‘official’ economicgrowth / globalisation models?
  • 34. ContactAshish Kothari, Coordinator, NBSAPprocessashishkothari@vsnl.com

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