The first National Biodiversity Congress, organised by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) in association with National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), concluded here on Sunday.
The biodiversity congress, which had been conceived in the wake of the the eleventh Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 11) is being planned to be held as an annual event hereafter, according to Balakrishna Pisupati, Chairman, NBA.
‘’We hope to hold the event in Kolkata from October 3 to 5 next year with the theme ‘Leading from Behind,’’ said Pisupati.
‘’This is to stress the importance of local communities who have the best knowledge on biodiversity but whose voices are often left unheard,’’ he said.
Briefing the outcome of the biodiveristy congress held here, Pisupati told a press conference here on Sunday that twenty state biodiversity boards (SBBs) across the country participated and around 200 scientific presentations were made.
A key issue discussed was the implementation of the Biological Diversity Act focusing on preparation of Peoples’ Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) and strengthening of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs).
‘’The real challenge is proper implementation of access and benefit- sharing of biodiversity with local communities,’’ said Pisupati.
‘’For this, all SBBs must be committed to completing the PBRs in a timely manner so that biodiversity-related information and knowledge are appropriately registered and future benefits shared with respective communities, he said.’’
In addition to the three-day conference, a ten-day biodiversity Expo and a Children’s Ecological Congress were held as well.
According to KSBB member secretary K P Laladhas, over 40,000 people visited the Expo. Eighty government departments and NGOs set up 102 stalls and awards were presented to the best stalls.
‘’The stall put up by Natural History Museum, New Delhi was adjudged the best stall,’’ said Laladhas. ‘’The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) was selected as the best stall among the government departments while the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) topped among the NGOs.”
The Children’s Ecological Congress, which concluded on Sunday, saw the participation of around 250 students of UP, HS and HSS level from all over the