The International Day for Biological Diversity 2016 was celebrated all over the country by different States and various organisations on 22nd May 2016. The national level celebrations of the Day were held at Yashwant Rao Chavan Auditorium, Mumbai with enthusiastic participation of all stakeholders. Organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India, through the National Biodiversity Authority with support from the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board, in partnership with United Nations Development Programme and others, the event had the Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra, Shri. CH. Vidyasagar Rao, as the Chief Guest; and Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change presided over the event.
Others present on the occasion were Dr B. Meenakumari, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority, Prof. R. Sukumar, Centre for Ecological Science, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; Dr. M.M.Kutty, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India; Mr. Yuri Asanasiev, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India; Dr Vilas Bardekar, Chairman, Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board; Shri Swadheen S. Kshatriya, Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra; representatives of ICAR institutes, State Forest Department, Bombay National Histry Society, Civil Society Organizations; academic institutions; students of Mumbai University Colleges and biodiversity enthusiasts.
The Hon’ble 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 mentioned that this year, Marathwara is witnessing unprecedented drought and conserving water, maintaining clean water bodies and managing water resources judiciously will be critical to sustain life and livelihood of people and also to maintain biodiversity.
Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment, Forest & Climate Change in his remarks referring to the theme of the Day (mainstreaming biodiversity and supporting livelihoods) highlighted the important role played by biodiversity in various economic sectors. Congratulating the winners of the India Biodiversity Awards 2016, he stated that the country has succeeded in making the crucial paradigm shift from development and environment being seen as two ends of a spectrum where one must be compromised in order to enhance the other, to having development while protecting the environment.
The Governor and the Minister presented the India Biodiversity Awards 2016 to the winners and the runners-up in four categories to recognise their efforts towards conservation of biodiversity.
Launched in 2012, by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change in partnership with the United Nations Development Progamme, the India Biodiversity Awards recognise excellence in biodiversity governance across the country.
Awards were also presented to the winners of a photography contest organized by the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board. A publication on ‘India Naturally! Celebrating winners of India Biodiversity Awards 2016 was released on the occasion. Also released were some other knowledge products and communication material.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yuri Afanasiev, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident 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.
Prof. Sukumar in his lecture highlighted the need for some out-of-the box thinking in making conservation landscapes work, for example by using ecology and sociology as the basis for conservation in India. He further exhorted that research and policy be directed towards landscape approach to biodiversity conservation.
An exhibition on the theme of the Day 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. Several students and others interested participated enthusiastically in the exhibition. The dignitaries too walked through the exhibition prior to the event.
In India, a recognised magadiverse country rich in biodiversity, nearly 300 million people are dependent on biodiversity for subsistence and livelihoods. This dependence is particularly acute for around half of India’s 89 million tribal people who reside in forests or on the fringe of forests. Across India, people, communities, governments, and civil society orgnisations are demonstrating ways to conserve biodiversity, sustain livelihoods, and contribute to sustainable development.
For the Category: Successful Mechanisms/ Models for Access and Benefit Sharing, the Winner:
Efforts resulting in equitable sharing of benefits (monetary and/ or non-monetary) arising from the utilisation of bio-resources and associated traditional knowledge and practices.