Highlights of the CoP-11 Conference on Biodiversity

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• Largest ever such conference organised in India. 170 countries participated. The number of pre registered delegates around 15000. Minister/Vice Minister level participation around 80. More than 400 side events – many organised by the World Bank, UNDP, GEF, other countries and International and national NGOs.

• The elements of successful CoP were flawless logistics, strategic thinking in the development of Agenda’s content, participation of a large number of stakeholders and persuasive yet effective negotiations.

• One of the most important outcomes of the CoP is the commitment of the Parties to double the international financial flows for Bio Diversity by 2015. This will translate into additional financial flows to the developing countries to the tune of about US $ 30 billion equivalent to about Rs. 1,50,000 crore over the next 8 years. This is a major achievement especially in the context of .

1. Global economic downturn

2. Contentious stands regarding the robust baseline and the reporting mechanism

3. Absence of any such target in the recommendation sent to the CoP by WGRI

4. With no proposal from Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI) the Parties would not have come with the required clearance from the respective Finance Ministries.

India rectified the situation by her initiatives

1. Suggested a two track solution envisaging a preliminary target and a road map.

2. Co sponsored informal dialogue to promote better Understanding among the parties of the issues involved.

3. Co sponsored India UK High Level Panel to assess the requirement of funds.

4. Worked closely with the Bureau to introduce a specific element of preliminary target, so that the parties come prepared with mandates from their Finance Ministries.

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5. During the CoP India led the efforts of the Parties to find a satisfactory outcome

• Way Forward India will like to play its leadership role during India’s Presidency by supporting and hosting capacity building in the developing countries to help them prepare project proposals to avail the additional funding now envisaged.

• India will now be working closely with all the member countries to make a success of the Hyderabad Road Map. India will also share its experience with other countries to help them establish a robust baseline, so that the target for resources fixed now is further refined by CoP 12. India has already set apart a sum of Rs. 50 crores towards South South cooperation.

• India has launched the initiative of Hyderabad Pledge. All the countries are requested to pledge money for the cause of bio diversity. MEF will now write to all the Ministers the world over requesting them to pledge additional resources for Biodiversity.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a Hyderabad Pledge, under which India will spend $50 million to strengthen the institutional mechanisms for protection of biological diversity during its two-year presidency of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

This will be used to advance the objectives of the CBD, at the national and state level in the country. Similar capacity building assistance funding will be made available to developing countries.

Protecting and promoting biodiversity has always been an integral part of the Indian ethos and culture. This can be seen from the thousands of sacred groves all over the country. Traditional system of agriculture and medicine in India has depended on plant and animal biodiversity, and protecting the wild relatives of these resources that we use today is of paramount importance.

• India has already ratified Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit sharing. India during its Presidency will work tirelessly for the ratification of the Protocol by 50 countries so that it comes into force during the Presidency of India. Towards this end, India will offer to host the meeting of the Inter Governmental Committee of Nagoya Protocol. India will also host capacity building workshops of developing Countries to help them take legislative / administrative measures. India has already offered to meet part of the cost of the meeting of the Working Group on Art. 8j on Traditional Knowledge.

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• After the resounding success of the Science Express Biodiversity Special. The Government will take special efforts to increase the reach of this Express to even more remote corners of the country to increase the awareness about Biodiversity.

• Many delegates who visited the Biodiversity express in Hyderabad wanted something similar done in their country. India will explore ways of replicating this wonderful success of Biodiversity Express in other countries by providing them appropriate support.

• In Hyderabad, a commemorative Pylon and a Biodiversity Garden have been established. The Prime Minister of India had planted the first tree on behalf of India, representatives of the participating countries have also planted trees. It has been decided to establish a Biodiversity Museum on this site. This will be a token of gratitude to the people of Hyderabad whose hospitality had won the heart of every international delegate. Hyderabad is the first host city of CBD CoP to establish commemorative Pylon, garden and museum.

• During its Presidency India will take special steps to strengthen the State Biodiversity Boards and to prepare Peoples Biodiversity Registers at the village level. A sum of about Rs.250 crores has been approved for this purpose.

• India will substantially increase its allocation for Biodiversity by working closely with other Ministries for mainstreaming of Biodiversity.

• India has instituted together with UNDP Biodiversity Governance Awards. The first such awards were given during the CoP 11. It is now proposed to institute Rajiv Gandhi International Award for Harnessing Biodiversity for Livelihood.

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Raja Raja Cholan
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Trainer & Mentor for aspirants preparing for civil service examination

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