India on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to mainstream biodiversity across all sectors in order to conserve nature, reverse its loss and to secure a healthy planet for the current and future generations.
“India will also ensure that the benefits of biodiversity conservation flow to the poor and resource-dependent communities, who are the true custodians of biodiversity,” said Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav.
Yadav was speaking virtually at the high-level segment of the ongoing UN Biodiversity Conference 2021 during a roundtable on ‘Putting Biodiversity on a Path of Recovery’ on Tuesday evening.
The 15th Conference of Parties to the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP) started on Monday at China’s Kunming, where governments are committing and reiterating the actions that they “need to commit to repair our broken relationship with nature”.
Yadav said India is committed to joining hands in shaping the global conservation policy “while making its own contribution in enhancing its conservation estate”.
Announcing that India has already set aside over 17.41 per cent of its geographical area for meeting the conservation objectives, and more areas are being identified to enhance this coverage, the Union minister said, “I understand that the recent digital reporting by India has significantly contributed to achieving the global conservation target under the Aichi Biodiversity Target-11 and the Sustainable Development Goal-15. I am very pleased to convey India’s strong commitment to the global 30X30 initiative.”
India had on October 7 officially joined the ‘High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People’, a group of more than 70 countries encouraging the adoption of the global goal to protect 30×30, which aims to promote an international agreement to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean by 2030.
Terming himself as “a spokesperson and a representative of one of the 17 mega-biodiverse countries in the world”, Yadav reminded the world leaders how with just 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, India harbours 8 per cent of all recorded species and is recognised as one of the eight centres of origin of cultivated plants.
“Several hundred species of wild crop relatives are also distributed all over the country,” he added.
India is currently holding the Presidency of two UN Conventions — Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD) — which are both closely related to biodiversity conservation.
“I am pleased to highlight that we are also constantly endeavouring to ensure policy coherence across our laws for seamless implementation of conservation and development policies. We hope to create opportunities for different actors, including those from the business side, stakeholders across sectors from agriculture, health and infrastructure, among others, to actively engage in this mission,” he said.
Yadav also referred to the Covid-19 pandemic as something that has “shown the entire humanity that respect for nature is not just a moral or ethical consideration, but it is an imperative for keeping ourselves, our health and our economies safe, as well as for handing our future generations a planet on which they can thrive”.