India Pledges $50 Million For Biodiversity Conservation
Hyderabad: India Tuesday pledged a sum of $50 million for strengthening institutional mechanisms on biodiversity conservation in the country during the next two years. “I am pleased to launch the Hyderabad Pledge and announce that our government has decided to earmark a sum of $50 million during India’s presidency of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to strengthen the institutional mechanism for biodiversity conservation in India,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Speaking at the inauguration of the high level segment of the Eleventh Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, he said: “We will use these funds to enhance the technical and human capabilities of our national and state-level mechanisms to attain the Convention on Biological Diversity objectives.
“We have also earmarked funds to promote similar capacity building in developing countries.”
On the ongoing debate on environment versus development, the prime minister said: “In recent years, it has become increasingly more difficult to find common ground on environmental issues. This is, indeed, unfortunate given that there is today a much higher global awareness of environmental risks and concerns. It is this consciousness that should provoke us to greater action even as we cope with the pressures of the current global economic downturn.”
Asking countries to ratify the Nagoya Protocol, the prime minister said: “India has recently ratified the Nagoya Protocol and formalised our commitment to it. I would urge all the Parties to do likewise. I am, however, glad that negotiations regarding biodiversity have achieved remarkable success.”
The Nagoya Protocol is an international legally binding treaty that works towards conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. “Despite global efforts, the 2010 biodiversity target that we had set for ourselves under the Convention on Biological Diversity was not fully met. This situation needs to change. The critical issue really is how to mobilise the necessary financial, technical and human resources, particularly the incubation, sharing and transfer of technology,” he said.
Manmohan Singh said biodiversity-based livelihood options form the basis of rural survival in many parts of the world. “Living at the periphery of subsistence, the poor are the most at risk from biodiversity loss. They should not also be the ones to bear the cost of biodiversity conservation while the benefits are enjoyed by society at large. India’s initiatives acknowledge this correlation between biodiversity conservation and poverty eradication,” he said.
About 15,000 delegates from over 185 countries are attending the 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP11) to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) COP11, which began Oct 8 and will continue till Oct 19.
Manmohan Singh also unveiled a pylon and laid the foundation stone for a biodiversity park and museum here to mark the ongoing global biodiversity meet.
Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan urged the parties to agree to at least some measures for resource mobilization to achieve biodiversity targets by 2020.
Reminding the delegates that the resources mobilisation was unfinished agenda of COP10 at Nagoya, she said if there was no agreement reached again, four years of the 2010-2020 strategic plan would be gone, making it difficult to achieve biodiversity targets, popularly known as Aichi targets. “It will be a collective failure, which we should avoid at all cost. We once failed to achieve 2010 targets and future generations will not forgive us if we fail again in 2012,” she said.
Hailing the Indian prime minister’s announcement, Braulio Dias, executive secretary, CBD, appealed to all parties and partners to the CBD to become a regional or global champions for biodiversity and the achievement of one or more of the Aichi targets.
He asked the nations not to see biodiversity as costs but as investments that will pay back with significant environmental, social and economic benefits for all societies.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner, Japan’s Minister for Environment Hiroyuki Nagahama and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy also spoke on the occasion.
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