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About People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)

Context:    

The Goa launch of the National Campaign for Updating and Verifying the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) represents a noteworthy achievement in documenting and safeguarding India’s abundant biological diversity. The event, hosted by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, marks a significant milestone in this endeavor.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)
  2. Status of Biodiversity Management in India
  3. Challenges related to Biodiversity Conservation
  4. About Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

About People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)

  • The PBR is a comprehensive record of biodiversity, encompassing conservation of habitats, preservation of land races, folk varieties, cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals, and micro-organisms.
  • Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) are established under the Biological Diversity Act 2002 to promote conservation, sustainable use, and documentation of biological diversity.
  • BMCs, formed by local bodies in states and union territories, are responsible for creating PBRs in consultation with local communities.
Importance and Objectives:
  • Conservation of biodiversity: The PBR contributes to the preservation of biodiversity, crucial for maintaining ecological balance.
  • Benefit sharing: It enables local communities to share the benefits derived from genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
  • Implementation of regulations: The PBR supports the implementation of the Biological Diversity Act 2002, which regulates access to biological resources and ensures fair and equitable benefit sharing.
  • Cultural and natural overlap: By being a bottom-up exercise, the PBR facilitates understanding the intersection of cultural and natural biodiversity.
  • Decentralized and inclusive approach: The PBR follows a decentralized approach, involving local communities and institutions, promoting inclusivity in biodiversity conservation.
  • LiFE concept: The PBR aligns with the “Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE)” concept introduced by the Indian Prime Minister at COP26 in Glasgow. It calls for mindful and deliberate resource utilization to protect and preserve the environment.

Status of Biodiversity Management in India

  • Despite occupying only 2.4% of the world’s land area, India is home to 7-8% of the world’s recorded species.
  • India boasts four of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots: The Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo-Burma area, and Sundaland.
  • Two of these hotspots, the Indo-Burma area and Sundaland, extend beyond India’s formal borders and are spread throughout South Asia.
Legislative Framework:
  • The Biological Diversity Act (BDA) of 2002 in India aligns closely with the Nagoya Protocol and aims to implement the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • The Nagoya Protocol aims to ensure that the commercial and research utilization of genetic resources results in the sharing of benefits with the government and the community responsible for conserving those resources.
  • The BDA is a significant step toward preserving India’s extensive biodiversity as it recognizes the sovereign rights of countries over their natural resources.
  • The BDA promotes the decentralized management of bio-resources and establishes a three-layered structure:
    • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) operates at the national level.
    • The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) function at the state level.
    • Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) operate at the local level.
  • The act also strengthens India’s position regarding intellectual property rights related to biodiversity knowledge, preventing unauthorized claims.

Challenges related to Biodiversity Conservation:

Invasive Alien Species:

  • Invasive alien species, including non-native plants, animals, and pathogens, pose a significant challenge to biodiversity conservation.
  • These species can cause environmental harm and disrupt the ecological balance of ecosystems.
  • Reports from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) indicate that invasive alien species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions.

Global Warming and Climate Change:

  • Global warming and climate change pose threats to plant and animal species.
  • Many organisms are sensitive to changes in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, which can lead to their disappearance.
  • The use of pesticides and the release of tropospheric ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen oxides from industries further contribute to the degradation of natural ecosystems.

Plastic Pollution:

  • Inefficient management of plastic waste leads to the dumping of microplastics into oceans.
  • This pollution chokes and starves marine life, causing liver, reproductive, and gastrointestinal damage in animals.
  • Marine biodiversity is directly impacted by the presence of microplastics, affecting the overall health and balance of marine ecosystems.

Genetic Modification:

  • Genetically modified plants carry risks of disrupting ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Engineering genes for desirable traits can favor certain organisms over others, leading to imbalances.
  • Disruptions in the natural process of gene flow can eventually impact the sustainability of indigenous varieties and disrupt overall ecological processes.

About Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty that was negotiated and signed by nations during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 5, 1992. The convention officially came into force on December 29, 1993. India became a party to the convention on February 18, 1994, and currently, there are 196 Parties to the CBD.
  • The CBD is a legally binding treaty with three primary objectives:
    • Conservation of biodiversity: The convention aims to promote the conservation and sustainable management of biological diversity, including ecosystems, species, and genetic resources.
    • Sustainable use of biodiversity components: It encourages the sustainable utilization of biological resources while ensuring the preservation of biodiversity and ecological balance.
    • Fair and equitable sharing of benefits: The CBD emphasizes the fair and equitable sharing of benefits that arise from the utilization of genetic resources, ensuring that the benefits reach both the providers of those resources and the communities involved.
  • The Secretariat of the CBD is located in Montreal, Canada, and serves as the administrative hub for coordinating and supporting the implementation of the convention’s objectives.

-Source: PIB, Indian Express


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