Celebration of International Day for Biodiversity in Hyderabad on 22nd May 2018
The International Day for Biodiversity 2018 was celebrated all over the country by different States and various organisations on 22 May 2018. The national level celebrations of the Day were held at the Auditorium, Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) in Hyderabad with enthusiastic participation of all stakeholders. Organised by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Government of India in coordination with the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), and with the cooperation of the Telangana State Biodiversity Board, the event had the Hon’ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Shri E.S.L. Narasimhan as the Chief Guest and Shri Jogu Ramanna, Minister of Environment, Forests, Science & Technology, Government of Telangana as the Guest of Honour for the same.
The event was organised in the gracious presence of Shri SK Pattnayak, Secretary Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DACFW), Government of India, Shri SK Joshi, Chief Secretary, Govt of Telangana, Shri Ajay Mishra, Special Chief Secretary, Govt of Telengana; Dr V Praveen Rao, Vice Chancellor of PJTSAU, Dr. B. Meenakumari, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority and Ms. Marina Walter, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 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 Hon’ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana in his address highlighted that India has been conserving our 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. 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.
Shri Jogu Ramanna, Minister of Environment, Forests, Science & Technology, Government of Telangana congratulated the organizers on this occasion and also highlighted the efforts taken by the Government of Telangana in conserving the biodiversity. He also highlighted the effective functioning of BMCs at the community level for conserving the biodiversity.
Shri Arun Kumar Mehta in his opening remarks mentioned that managing the living environment is a much more complex issue than managing the physical environement. He informed that India has contributed significantly towards achieving the global Aichi Biodiversity targets 11 and 16. He highlighted that the continuing loss of species may perhaps lead to the sixth mass extinction. The Government of India is committed to conserve the biological resources to ensure better living environment for the human beings.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri S K Pattanayak, Secretary, DACFW while highlighting the high production of food grains, production of fruits and vegetables in India referred to biodiversity as the fundamental substratum on which food security of India lies. Advances in technology especially towards climate smart agriculture would not have been possible but for the conservation of wild varieties by the people. We need to recognize and reward these conservers of biodiversity. The PPVFR Act provides for protection of the genetic resources conserved by the farmers/ community traditionally for ages. He called upon collective action for guarding against genetic erosion by MoEFCC and MoA&FW.
In her opening remarks, Dr. B. Meenakumari, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority highlighted that conserving biodiversity is for securing our own future. Our actions can be small, yet significant towards conservation of biodiversity.
The UNDP Country Director, Ms. Marina Walter, in her address highlighted that, conservation of biodiversity in India will have a global impact and will be central to achievement of multiple SDGs related to food security, health, livelihood security, poverty alleviation among others.
During the event, 9 winners and 14 special mention of the India Biodiversity Awards 2018 were presented in four categories to recognise the efforts of individuals and communities working at the grassroots level for conservation of biodiversity. ‘India Naturally!’ a publication narrating the stories of these Champions of biodiversity and some knowledge products and communication materials were also released on the occasion.
The exhibition organised at the venue was inaugurated by Shri Jogu Ramanna, Minister of Environment, Forests, Science & Technology, Government of Telangana. Interesting exhibits, posters and other material highlighting the role of biodiversity and its mainstreaming in sustaining livelihoods are being depicted at the exhibition. Several students and other stakeholsders participated in the exhibition.
A technical session of invited lectures by experts on biodiversity, and an innovative special session on ‘Greening Young Minds’ with youth sharing their views on biodiversity conservation were held in the afternoon.
In India, a recognized megadiverse country rich in biodiversity, nearly 300 million people are dependent on biodiversity for subsistence and livelihoods. Across India, people, communities, governments and civil society organizations are demonstrating ways to conserve biodiversity, sustain livelihoods, and contribute to sustainable development.
Celebration of the IDB under this theme “Celebrating 25 years of action on biodiversity” to mark the occasion of 25 years of coming into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of and threats to biodiversity, while highlighting its contributions to sustainable development.