India Biodiversity Awards 2016 presented in Mumbai

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Mumbai | May 22, 2016 : Union  Environment Minister Mr. Prakash Javadekar today asserted that  India is confident that it can conserve  its rich biodiversity while ensuring development.  Speaking at the International Biodiversity Day event in Mumbai on Sunday night, Mr. Javadekar said “It is a myth that ecological conservation and development can not co-exist.  It is not correct to see environment and development as being two ends of a spectrum, where one must be compromised in order to enhance the other”. He said concerns of livelihood should addressed equally while framing policies for environmental protection.

Referring to the Western Ghats, Mr. Javadekar assured that the centre will formulate a policy that will conserve  the rich biodiversity of the area, at the same time ensuring that the livelihoods of 5 crore people residing in the region spread across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu are not adversely affected.

Mr. Javadekar said India was one of the recognized mega-diverse countries of the world, harbouring nearly 8% of recorded species and representing 4 biodiversity hotspots. He commended the peoples’ action for environment conservation and said a  ‘jan andolan (peoples’ movement) was necessary for biodiversity conservation. The Minister lamented that many success stories of environment conservation were not highlighted by the mainstream media.

The Governor of Maharashtra, in his address called for a partnership between government, business, agricultural research institutions, NGOs and farmers to meet the challenge of food security while also preserving our biological resources. He said, the Marathwada region was witnessing unprecedented drought and conserving water, maintaining clean water bodies and managing water resources judiciously was critical to sustaining life and livelihood of people and also to maintain biodiversity.

Prof. R Sukumar of the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, in his key-note address called for using ecology and sociology as the basis for conservation in India, instead of political and administrative boundaries. He advocated landscape approach to ecological conservation instead of national parks protected area approach, which happens to be a borrowing from the west.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr.Yuri Afanasiev, UNDP Representative in India said “by investing in biodiversity we are investing in people, planet and prosperity – which is the underlying premise of the Sustainable Development Goals”

India Biodiversity Awards

The Governor and the Environment Minister presented India Biodiversity Awards 2016 in the fields of conservation of threatened species, sustainable use of biological resources, successful models for access and benefit sharing and biodiversity management.

Purnima Devi Burman and the Hargila Army of Assam were felicitated for their efforts in conserving the population of endangered Greater Adjutant Bird (called Hargila in Assam), whose numbers have increased by three fold.  Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, Ghora-Abhe Society of Arunachal Pradesh were honoured for protecting 62 active Hornbill nests, helping Hornbill pairs to breed successfully.  The efforts of Mawkyrnot Self-Help Group, which has built a 52 feet long living root bridge using traditional knowledge of bio-engineering were recognized in the field of sustainable use of biological resources. Awards were also given for efforts in collection of medicinal plants, development of bio-pesticides, rejuvenation of river systems etc.

The International Day of Biological Diversity is observed every year on May 22 as part of the United Nations Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.  It was celebrated all over the country by different States and various organisations.  The national level celebrations of the Day were held at Yashwant Rao Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai with enthusiastic participation of all stakeholders.

An exhibition on the theme of Biodiversity was organised at the venue. Interesting exhibits, posters and other material highlighting the role of biodiversity and its mainstreaming in sustaining livelihoods were depicted at the exhibition.