India submits sixth national report to Convention of Biological Diversity

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New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) India on Saturday submitted its sixth national report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighting the progress it has made in achieving the 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT) set under the convention process.

The report highlights that while India had already exceeded two targets, it was on track to achieve another eight soon, an official statement said.

The remaining two would be met by the stipulated time of 2020, it added.

The report was submitted online to the CBD Secretariat by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan during the inaugural session of the 13th National Meeting of the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs). The Minister also released the document “Progress on India’s National Biodiversity Targets: A Preview” on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Harsh Vardhan said India was among the first five countries in the world, the first in Asia and the first among the biodiversity-rich megadiverse countries to have submitted NR6 to the CBD Secretariat.

“While globally, biodiversity is facing increasing pressure on account of habitat fragmentation and destruction, invasive alien species, pollution, climate change and over-use of resources, India is one of the few countries where forest cover is on the rise, with its forests teeming with wildlife.

“I am also happy to note that India is on track to achieve the biodiversity targets at the national level and is also contributing significantly towards achievement of the global biodiversity targets,” the Minister said.

Submission of national reports is a mandatory obligation on parties to international treaties, including CBD, and they were required to submit their NR6 by December 31.

As per the report, India has done well on raising awareness about biodiversity.

“As a megadiverse country harbouring nearly 7 to 8 per cent of globally recorded species while supporting 18 per cent of the global human population on a mere 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, India’s quest for inclusive economic development while maintaining integrity of its natural capital is being pursued through various programmes and strategies,” a statement issued by the Environment Ministry said.

“Measures have been adopted for sustainable management of agriculture, fisheries and forests, with a view to provide food and nutritional security to all without destroying the natural resource base while ensuring intergenerational environmental equity. Programmes are in place to maintain genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farms livestock and their wild relatives, towards minimising genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.

“Mechanisms and enabling environment are being created for recognising and protecting the vast heritage of coded and oral traditional knowledge relating to biodiversity for larger human welfare while safeguarding the interests and rights of the local communities as creators and holders of this knowledge,” it said.

As per the NR6 report, India had 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 crore per annum as against the estimated annual requirement of nearly Rs 1,09,000 crore.

“India has nearly two-thirds of the population of wild tigers in the world. The population of lion has risen from 177 in 1968 to over 520 in 2015, and elephants from 12,000 in 1970s to 30,000 in 2015. One-horned Indian Rhino which was on the brink of extinction during the early 20th century, now number 2,400.”

“Further, while globally over 0.3 per cent of total recorded species are critically endangered, in India only 0.08 per cent of the species recorded are in this category. India is committed to protecting its rich heritage of biodiversity which are so vital to our economic and social development,” the statement said.

–IANS

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