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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : India can become a biodiversity champion     


Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims: Biodiversity, United Nations Biodiversity Conference, The National Mission for a Green India, SC/ST, Forest Rights Act (FRA) etc
  • Mains GS Paper I and II: Conservation of Environment, Environmental impact assessment, FRA-positives and negatives etc


  • The importance of biodiversity was strongly articulated at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada.






  • It is the number and variety of living organisms present in a specific geographical region.
  • It includes various plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they have and the ecosystems formed by them.
  • It relates to the diversity among living organisms on the earth, including the diversity within and between the species and that within and between the ecosystems they form


30*30 Pledge:

  • In Dec 2022, 188 country representatives adopted an agreement to “halt and reverse” biodiversity loss by conserving 30% of the world’s land and 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.



  • It currently hosts 17% of the planet’s human population and 17% of the global area in biodiversity hotspots
  • India can guide the planet in becoming biodiversity champions.


Programmes with potential

  • Union Budget 2023 mentioned “Green Growth” as one of the seven priorities or Saptarishis.
  • The National Mission for a Green India aims to increase forest cover on degraded lands and protect existing forested lands.
  • The Green Credit Programme has the objective to “incentivize environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals and local bodies”.
  • The Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) is significant because of the extraordinary importance of mangroves and coastal ecosystems in mitigating climate change.
  • The Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM) for reducing inputs of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is critical for sustaining our agriculture.
  • The Amrit Dharohar scheme directly mentions our biological wealth and is expected to “encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance biodiversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities”.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to stop the draining of Haiderpur, a Ramsar wetland in Uttar Pradesh, to safeguard migratory waterfowl is encouraging.


How should these programmes be implemented?

  • A science-based and inclusive monitoring programme is critical for the success of efforts and for documentation and distillation of lessons learnt for replication, nationally as well as globally.
  • New missions and programmes should effectively use modern concepts of sustainability and valuation of ecosystems that consider ecological, cultural, and sociological aspects of our biological wealth.
  • Prioritization of the benefits to ‘resource people’, and fund-services (rather than stock-flows) as the economic foundation for generating value has enormous potential for multiple sustainable bio-economies.
  • Green India Mission: implementation should focus on ecological restoration rather than tree plantation
    • Choose sites where it can contribute to ecological connectivity in landscapes fragmented by linear infrastructure.
  • Choice of species and density should be informed by available knowledge and evidence on resilience under emerging climate change and synergies and trade-offs with respect to hydrologic services.
  • Site selection should also be carefully considered for the mangrove initiative with a greater emphasis on diversity of mangrove species with retention of the integrity of coastal mud-flats and salt pans themselves, as they too are important for biodiversity.
  • Each of these efforts must be inclusive of local and nomadic communities where these initiatives will be implemented.
  • Traditional knowledge and practices of these communities should be integrated into the implementation plans.


Way Forward

  • The emphasis on green growth is a welcome step for India’s biological wealth as the country is facing serious losses of natural assets such as soils, land, water, and biodiversity.
  • Amrit Dharohar, with its emphasis on sustainability by balancing competing demands, will benefit aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • The future of our wetland ecosystems will depend on how we are able to sustain ecological flows through reduction in water use in key sectors such as agriculture.
    • Encouraging changes to less-water intensive crops such as millets
    • Investments in water recycling in urban areas using a combination of grey and blue-green infrastructure.
  • Each of these programmes has the potential to greatly improve the state of our nation’s biodiversity if their implementation is based on the latest scientific and ecological knowledge.
  • Each programme should include significant educational and research funding to critically appraise and bring awareness to India’s biological wealth.
  • The National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing, already approved by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), will be immediately launched by the government.
    • This mission seeks to harness the power of interdisciplinary knowledge
      • for greening India and its economy
      • restore and enrich our natural capital for the well-being of our people
      • position India as a global leader in applied biodiversity science.



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