India, which recently took over as President of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, is ready to help other developing countries in building capacity and raising awareness of biodiversity conservation.

This was stated by M.F. Farooqui, Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, at a press conference on Thursday, on the sidelines of the ongoing 11 CoP here.

Replying to a question, he said that on the one hand India was facing biotic pressure and surge for growth and, on the other, was maintaining the status of a mega biodiverse country.

Referring to the Science Express-Biodiversity Special Train launched to raise awareness, he said as many as 1.4 million people had so far visited it, while the target was five million. “We want to share this experience with other developing countries,” he said, pointing out that lack awareness was one of the biggest issues. India’s other priority area would be to establish a close linkage between issues of biodiversity and livelihood as also mainstreaming it with development

To a query on establishment of a contact group due to a lack of consensus among nations on resource mobilisation to achieve the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, Mr. Farooqui admitted that it was a “difficult and challenging issue.” He, however, expressed confidence that consensus would be arrived at and India would play a constructive role in ensuring that there was a satisfactory outcome at CoP 11, being attended by delegates from 193 countries.

Mr. Farooqui said India was spending about Rs. 11, 000-crore annually on biodiversity related activities. “We have about 4.7 per cent of land area of the world, 18 per cent of the world’s population and 8.5 per cent of biodiversity. The government would like to ensure that awareness levels are increased further and capacity building [is] broad-based. “The country has a tradition of protecting biodiversity. Besides initiatives of government at various levels, the local people themselves protect forests.”

Asked if India raised any objection on any issue during the current negotiations, he said its stand in many ways was close to that of the developing countries. “We will not compromise on our national interests.”

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