first-un-biodiversity-summit

 

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Context: The first UN Biodiversity Summit was convened in the UN Headquarters. The Biodiversity Summit was participated by Head of States/Minister level representing the countries which are party to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 

More about news:

  • The Summit focused on the theme, ‘Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.’
  • As the world is approaching the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 there is an urgent need to accelerate action to conserve biodiversity.
  • The year 2020 which is also the “Super Year for Biodiversity”, as the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity with 20 global Aichi targets adopted in 2010 ends in 2020.
  • All the countries together are in the process of preparation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

 The UN Summit on Biodiversity: Key takeaways

  • Post 2020 global biodiversity framework: It highlighted the urgency of action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
    • The framework contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    • The framework places the global community on a path towards “living in harmony with nature” – the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.
    • An effective post 2020 global biodiversity framework is to be adopted at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 15).
    • The COP 15 is to be held in Kunming, China next year.
  • Link between spread of pathogens and biodiversity loss: The Summit took note of the link between biodiversity loss and the spread of animal pathogens, calling for an end to destructive industrial and commercial practices. 
    • The Coronavirus is also believed to have come from birds and animals.
  • Failure of Aichi targets: The latest UN Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report highlighted the failures of Aichi targets. 
    • None of the 20 targets has been fully met. 
    • The following Aichi targets have been ignored. These are related to  
      • reform or phasing out of subsidies that erode biodiversity 
      • Steps for resource use within safe ecological limits, 
      • Preventing industrial fisheries from destroying threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems, and 
      • an end to pollution, including growing plastic waste
    • Many countries have ignored the connection between biodiversity and well-being.
    • They have depleted ecological capital in pursuit of financial prosperity.
  • Biodiversity loss: WWF’s Living Planet Index, points to steep declines in vertebrate populations, a key indicator, by 68% over 1970 levels.  
  • Achievements of Aichi Targets: There is a partial progress made on protecting surface and subsurface water, inland, coastal and marine areas. 

India at the summit:

India highlighted following points in the summit:

  • India, with only 2.4% of the earth’s land area hosts around 8% of the world’s recorded species. 
  • India has enhanced the combined forest and tree cover to 24.56% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • India now has the highest number of tigers in the wild and have doubled its numbers ahead of the deadline of 2022. 
  • India recently announced the launch of Project Lion and Project Dolphin.
  • India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land, and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030.
  • India has already set aside 5% of the country’s land designated as protected areas for meeting the conservation objectives, contributing to Aichi Biodiversity Target-11 and the SDG -15.
  • India has established a Biological Diversity Act, 2002, to realize the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 
    • India has operationalized a system for access and benefit-sharing provisions of the CBD through a national network of 0.25 million Biodiversity Management Committees across the country involving local people.
    • The program of People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) is designed as a tool for the formal maintenance of the local knowledge with proper validation. 
    • PBR is a record of knowledge, perception and attitude of people about natural resources, plants and animals, their utilization and conservation in a village or a panchayat.
  • India organized CoP-14 of UNCCD, 2019 followed by CoP 13 of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in February 2020.

Concerns for India: 

  • EIA norms dilution: The new draft rules of Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) 2020 are extremely controversial.
    • It allows post-facto clearance which means a project can start and even complete its construction and then seek an environmental clearance. This is against the main principle of EIA notification.
    • Citizens have no role or public consultation has no role in actually formulating a policy or talking about violation by an industry.
    • Projects Exempted From EIA Clearance: Many polluting industries, almost 25 red and orange category industries which include production of chemicals and acid, river valley projects, mining in several areas have been exempted from seeking any environment clearance.

    • Ecologically Dangerous Projects have been allowed

    • The time for public consultation which used to be for 30 days was reduced to 20 days. This deters people from submitting their feedback or doing proper research before a public hearing.
  • There is little concern for indigenous communities that have fostered biodiversity, and no effort to make them strong partners in improving the health of forests and buffer zones. 

Plan for the future

  • This plan comes under the Convention on Biological Diversity, an international treaty agreed to at the UN Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992.

World leaders are now being asked to sign up to a pledge to protect 30% of the world’s biodiversity by 2030 through a ten-point plan which aligns with the Paris Agreement. India too has the opportunity to plan a trajectory of green growth after COVID-19.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), entered into force on 29 December, 1993. It is a legally binding treaty to conserve biodiversity and has 3 main objectives:
    • The conservation of biological diversity.
    • The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity.
    • The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
  • The CBD Secretariat is based in Montreal, Canada and it operates under the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP).
  • The Parties or Countries under Convention of Biodiversity (CBD), meet at regular intervals and these meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP).
  • The convention has been ratified by nearly all countries, except the US. (signed but not ratified).

Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • In force: From 12 October 2014.
  • Nagoya protocol on ABS:
    • Provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
    • Not only applies to genetic resources that are covered by the CBD, and to the benefits arising from their utilization but also covers traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources that are covered by the CBD and the benefits arising from its utilization.

Aichi Targets

  • Along with the Nagoya Protocol on Genetic Resources, the COP-10 also adopted a ten-year framework for action by all countries to save biodiversity.
  • Officially known as Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, provide a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets for biodiversity. 
  • The 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets can be divided into:
    • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
    • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
    • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
    • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
    • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.

  Case of India

  • India enacted Biological Diversity Act in 2002 for giving effect to the provisions of the CBD.
  • The National Biodiversity Authority is a statutory body, which was established by the Central Government in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
    • It performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions for the Government of India on issues of conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.
    • The NBA is headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Image source: https://www.sciencedirect.com

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Q) Critically analyse India’s performance in conserving biodiversity in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). (250 words)