Biodiversity must no longer be seen though the isolated lens of conservation alone, but as a business which impacts all the sections of society, National Biodiversity Authority Chairman Balakrishna Pisupati said, addressing a news conference here on Tuesday.
Speaking on the necessity to engage local communities in biodiversity conservation, which is also their source of livelihood, Pisupati said it was important to develop People’s Biodiversity Registers so that traditional local wisdom was not lost.
“Such registers should not be static documents which get locked up in a cupboard,” he said. “They should be made use as sources of information and can help in various policy decisions.”
Local communities are often not aware of their rights and negotiating power and the value of their biodiversity resources, which is why they get exploited often, he added.
“As part of our awareness drives, we are conducting training programmes for the local Biodiversity Monitoring Committees, formed as per the national Biological Diversity Act (2002), especially to make them aware of Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements,” the Chairman said.
“These agreements will entitle local communities to share benefits when biological resources are used for commercial purposes,” he said.
Biodiversity conventions have largely seen only the participation of elite groups of scientists and other experts, according to Pisupati.
“In order to engage the larger sections of society who are also stakeholders of biodiversity, the first National Biodiversity Congress is being held in Thiruvananthapuram in December,” said Pisupati.
The Congress, to be held at Kanakakkunnu Palace during December 27-30, will see the participation of various ‘stakeholder groups,’ including various state government departments such as Forest, Agriculture, Fisheries and Tourism and various autonomous bodies. The event, henceforth to be conducted annually, will have ‘Biodiversity for food security’ as the theme this year.