Chronology of World Biodiversity Efforts

The convention on International trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) 1963. The 1979 Bonn convection on the conservation of migratory species of wild Animals. The 1991 Ramsar Wetland Convention June 1992, Earth Summit

The Convention on Biological Diversity, 1993. The Cartagena Protocol in Biosafety, adopted on 29th January, 2000. 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity. The convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya (Japan) October 2010. 22nd December 2010, UN declared the period from 2011 to 2020 as the U.N. Decade on Biodiversity. 2011, as the U.N. International Year of Forest.

Abatement of Pollution in India

Environmental degradation has become a serious concern in the present scenario of increasing urbanization and industrialization. The air, water, and soil are becoming increasingly polluted, affecting the health of the people adversely. Realising this trend of pollution in various environmental media like air, water, soil, etc. the Ministry of Environment has adopted a policy for abatement of pollution, which provides multi-pronged strategies in the form of regulations, legislations, agreements, fiscal incentives and other measures to prevent and abate pollution. The Government adopted the National Environment Policy 2006 which seeks to extend the coverage and fill in gaps that still exist. Some of the important steps taken by the Ministry of Environment are:

The monitored ambient air quality data indicates that the levels of Sulphur Dioxide and Oxides of Nitrogen are within the notified ambient air quality norms.

  1. To reduce noise pollution.
  2. Conservation of water-bodies.
  3. Biological Diversity Act 2002

In pursuance to the Conservation of Biodiversity (CBD), India enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002. The Biological Rules were notified in 2004. The Act addresses access to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their use to the country and its people. India is one of the few countries to have enacted such a legislation. The Act is to be implemented through a three tier institutional structure. (a) National Biodiversity Authority, (b) State Biodiversity Authority, and (c) Biodiversity Management Committees.

Cartagena Biodiversity Protocol

The Cartagena Protocol on biodiversity, the first international regulatory framework for safe transfer, handling and use of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) was negotiated under the aegis of the Convention on Biological Diversity (BCD). In India, the protocol was adopted on 29th January, 2000. India has acceded the Bio-safety Protocol on 17th January, 2003. The main objective of the protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of production in the field of the safe transfer, handling of LMOs resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account risk to human health.

Genetic Engineering Approval Committee

The Ministry under the Environment Protection Act (1986), has notified the ‘Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-Organism/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989’ (known as Rules 1989) to ensure that research and development and testing of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) prior to environmental release are conducted in safe and scientific manner. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, the apex body under the Rules, 1989 has the mandate to approve the large scale trials and commercial release of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). The rules also cover the application of hazardous micro’organisms which may not be genetically modified. Hazardous micro-organisms include those which are pathogenic to animals as well as to plants.

Taxonomy Building

India has committed itself to capacity building in taxonomy. The Ministry has set up an All India Coordinated Project on Taxonomy. The project has organized specialist groups drawn from universities, Botanical and Zoological Surveys of India to take up taxonomic work on animal viruses, bacteria and algae, fungi, lichens, bryophytes, gymnosperms, palms, grasses, bamboos, orchids, helminthes and nematodes, etc. The Central Government is providing assistance to 13 thematic areas for undertaking taxonomic research work.

Environment and Ecology