Context: India recently submitted its Sixth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
India is among the first five countries in the world, the first in Asia and the first among the biodiversity-rich mega diverse countries to have submitted the report.
The submission of national reports is a mandatory obligation on parties to international treaties, including the CBD. As a responsible nation, India has never reneged on its international commitments and has earlier submitted on time five national reports to the CBD.
Highlights of the report:
The report provides an update of progress in achievement of 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT)developed under the convention process in line with the 20 global Aichi biodiversity targets.
- The report highlights that while India has exceeded/ overachieved two NBTs, it is on track to achieve eight NBTs and with respect to two remaining NBTs, the country is striving to meet the targets by the stipulated time of 2020.
- According to the report, India has exceeded the terrestrial component of 17% of Aichi target 11, and 20% of corresponding NBT relating to areas under biodiversity management.
- Also, India has been investing a huge amount on biodiversity directly or indirectly through several development schemes of the central and state governments, to the tune of Rs 70,000 crores per annum as against the estimated annual requirement of nearly Rs 1,09,000 crore.
At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” — meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.
The 12 National Biodiversity targets of India are:
- By 2020, a significant proportion of the country’s population, especially the youth, is aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
- By 2020, values of biodiversity are integrated into national and state planning processes, development programmes and poverty alleviation strategies.
- Strategies for reducing the rate of degradation, fragmentation and loss of all natural habitats are finalized and actions put in place by 2020 for environmental amelioration and human well-being.
- By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and strategies to manage them developed so that populations of prioritized invasive alien species are managed.
- By 2020, measures are adopted for sustainable management of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
- Ecologically representative areas under terrestrial and inland water, and also coastal and marine zones, especially those of particular importance for species, biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved effectively and equitably, based on protected area designation and management and other area-based conservation measures and are integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes, covering over 20% of the geographic area of the country, by 2020.
- By 2020, genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farm livestock, and their wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.
- By 2020, ecosystem services, especially those relating to water, human health, livelihoods and well-being, are enumerated and measures to safeguard them are identified, taking into account the needs of women and local communities, particularly the poor and vulnerable sections.
- By 2015, Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization as per the Nagoya Protocol are operational, consistent with national legislation.
- By 2020, an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity action plan is made operational at different levels of governance.
- By 2020, national initiatives using communities’ traditional knowledge relating to biodiversity are strengthened, with the view to protecting this knowledge in accordance with national legislation and international obligations.
- By 2020, opportunities to increase the availability of financial, human and technical resources to facilitate effective implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the national targets are identified and the Strategy for Resource Mobilization is adopted.
What are Aichi Targets?
The ‘Aichi Targets’ were adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its Nagoya conference. It is a short term plan provides a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets. They can be divided into:
Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.