The International Day for Biodiversity (IBD) 2018 was celebrated all over the country on May 22 under the theme - “Celebrating 25 years of action on biodiversity
The International Day for Biodiversity (IBD) 2018 was celebrated all over the country on May 22. The celebration of the IDB under the theme - “Celebrating 25 years of action on biodiversity” provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of and threats to biodiversity, while highlighting its contribution to sustainable development. The celebrations have been organised to mark the 25 years of coming into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The national-level celebrations were held at Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) Auditorium in Hyderabad.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Shri E.S.L Narasimhan highlighted that India has been conserving its rich biodiversity for ages. “We worship trees, animals and rivers because we want to protect them. The celebration today reminds us to go back to our roots to conserve nature in our traditional ways. For us in India it is not the 25th year of conservation, as we should be celebrating thousands of years of conserving nature and living in harmony”, Shri Narasimhan said. He also cautioned that environment protection is of utmost importance today, as the only inheritance our children seek from us is, clean environment for good health. “We need to protect the nature, if we want nature to protect us”, he added.
Addressing the gathering, Minister of Environment, Forest, Science & Technology, Telangana,Shri Jogu Ramanna, underlined the efforts taken by Telangana in conserving biodiversity. He also highlighted the effective functioning of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at the community level for conserving the biodiversity.
In his opening remarks, Additional Secretary, MoEF&CC, Shri Arun Kumar Mehta pointed out that managing the living environment is a much more complex issue than managing the physical environment. He stated that India has contributed significantly towards achieving the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets 11 and 16. However, he also cautioned that the continuing loss of species may perhaps lead to the sixth mass extinction. Shri Mehta added that the Government is committed to conserve the biological resources to ensure a better living environment for human beings.
Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DACFW), Shri S K Pattanayak, highlighted the high production of foodgrains, production of fruits and vegetables in the country. He referred to biodiversity as the fundamental substratum upon which food security of India stands. Advances in technology, especially towards climate smart agriculture would not have been possible, but for the conservation of wild varieties by the people. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPVFR) Act provides for protection of the genetic resources conserved by the farmers/ community traditionally for ages. He called upon collective action by MoEFCC and MoA&FW for guarding against genetic erosion.
Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority, Dr. B. Meenakumari, highlighted that conserving biodiversity is for securing our own future. “Our actions can be small, yet significant, towards conservation of biodiversity”, Dr. Meenakumari said.
The UNDP Country Director, Ms. Marina Walter, in her address highlighted that conservation of biodiversity in India will have a global impact and it will be central to the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food security, health, livelihood security, poverty alleviation among others.
Secretary, DACFW, Shri SK Pattnayak, Chief Secretary, Telangana Shri SK Joshi, Special Chief Secretary, Telengana Shri Ajay Mishra, Vice Chancellor of PJTSAU, Dr V Praveen Rao, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority, Dr. B. Meenakumari, and Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ms. Marina Walter were among the distinguished ones in the gathering,. Senior officers from Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, National Biodiversity Authority, Telangana State Biodiversity Board, UNDP, representatives from other states, officers and scientists from Central and State Government institutes, State Forest Departments, civil society organisations, academic institutes, students, local communities, and biodiversity enthusiasts also attended the event.
The IBD 2018 celebrations have been organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in coordination with National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and Telangana State Biodiversity Board.