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Updated: September 14, 2012 10:20 IST

‘Time to bring back traditional crops’

Syeda Farida
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Chairman of AP Biodiversity Board Dr. R. Hampaiah. Photo: M. Subhash
The Hindu Chairman of AP Biodiversity Board Dr. R. Hampaiah. Photo: M. Subhash

The city is gearing up for the XI Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The international event will have representation from the 193 signatory countries to the treaty, who will be deliberating over various issues and also review the progress on the Nagoya Protocol as part of the earlier CoP in Japan, among other things.

Dr. R. Hampaiah, Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Biodiversity Board, who is the nodal person for organising the biggest event in the recent times, spared sometime to answer a few questions.

What is the CoP programme schedule?

The 6th Meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will be held from October 1 - 5. The 11 CoP will be held from October 8 - 19. The third programme is in high-level segment from October 17 to 19.

Who will be attending the event?

Policy makers, scientists and people well versed with biodiversity from the signatory countries will be attending. About 90-100 Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers of nearly 10 countries would be participating. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations will be attending as also the UN Environment Progamme Director and World Bank President too are expected.

US is not a signatory to the Convention on Bio-Diversity. Will it be participating now?

Yes. Though US is not a party to the treaty, a US contingent will be attending the event.

How are the preparations going on?

Preparations began last year. In the 15-acre biodiversity complex, we have a pylon depicting importance of biodiversity. The pylon will be unveiled on October 16. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to be present. A natural biodiversity museum and a biodiversity park would be part of the complex. We want to add over 13 lakh more species of flora, fauna and even microbes to the museum later. Also, we have been in the process of creating a City Biodiversity Index. The stress is on greenery to bring pollution under control. We are trying to create awareness among stakeholders - children, housewives and working professionals. We have identified endangered species in the State such as vultures, donkeys, house sparrow and snake. There is a need to bring them back. State governments need to have their own policy to bring traditional fruit and food crops that have been forgotten.

What can the people look forward to as part of the international event?

The Biodiversity Special Science Express will be stationed at James Street station from October 9-19, with information displayed on biodiversity across the coaches. Shilparamam will showcase traditional crafts while regional dance forms such as harvest dance. Lanterns with logo of CoP and flags of participating countries will be released. We will also celebrate Gandhi Jayanti taking note of what Gandhiji said on biodiversity.

Will there be a Hyderabad Declaration?

After deliberations are over, the participants will pool in suggestions that will go into the making of the Hyderabad Declaration. Government of Andhra Pradesh will be presenting issues such as water harvesting, tree plantation that is useful for biodiversity and livelihood, organic farming and medicinal plants.

What are the benefits to Andhra Pradesh across time from the meet?

Traditional knowledge will be brought into limelight and tourism will get a fillip. World over Hyderabad will be known much like Nagoya, Japan where the 10th CoP was held.

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