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Pathways to diversity

  • 03 October, 2020

  • 5 Min Read

Pathways to diversity

Context:

  • The UN Summit on Biodiversity was convened on September 30, 2020.
  • The member-nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 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 Summit on Biodiversity will be convened under the theme “Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.”

Issues:

  • Aichi Targets were adopted at the Nagoya Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • There is consensus that Aichi targets, to be achieved by 2020, have failed. Also, according to the latest UN Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report, none of the 20 targets has been fully met.
  • Among the Aichi targets that fell by the wayside are:
    • Those on 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.
    • Ending pollution, including the problem of increasing plastic waste.
    • A bright spot is the partial progress made on protecting surface and subsurface water, inland, coastal and marine areas.
    • WWF’s Living Planet Index points to steep declines in vertebrate populations (a key indicator) by 68% over 1970 levels.

Indian Scenario:

  • India is one of the few megadiverse countries and one that recognised the value of nature as much as the destructive impact of unregulated resource exploitation.
  • National laws of the 1970s and 1980s have shielded islands of biodiversity, particularly in about 5% of the country’s land designated as protected areas.
  • However, it is a matter of concern that the protected areas are today seen as irritants to the speedy extraction of natural resources.
  • Due process is sought to be adhered to, as laid down in the proposed EIA norms.
  • There is little concern for indigenous communities that have fostered biodiversity.
  • There have been little or no efforts to make the indigenous communities strong partners in improving the health of forests and buffer zones.

Best way forward for India:

  • With the members of CBD set to draw up fresh conservation targets, India too must use it as an opportunity to plan a trajectory of green growth after COVID-19.
  • Plans and targets should be set around clean energy, ecological agriculture, a freeze on expansion of mining and dam-building, resource recovery from waste, and regeneration of arid lands.

Way forward:

  • Many countries have chosen to ignore the connection between biodiversity and well-being, and depleted ecological capital in pursuit of financial prosperity.
  • Faced with fast-eroding ecosystem health, the 196 CBD member-countries must chart a greener course, aligning it with the Paris Agreement, which has a significant impact on the health of flora and fauna.

Source: TH

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