The recently-concluded National Biodiversity Congress (NBC 2012) hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) here has suggested several scientific, policy and legal measures to make India a leader in translating the potential of biodiversity for sustainable development and securing the livelihoods of local communities.

The outcomes of NBC 2012 issued by KSBB chairman Oommen V. Oommen include the proposal for establishment of a National Biodiversity Grid to facilitate and support the work of the National Biodiversity Authority in collating, analysing and synthesising biodiversity data for sustainable management and policy making.

Another important recommendation is the setting up of a National Innovation Council on biodiversity. Dr. Oommen said the NBC had suggested the development of a national biodiversity data and information policy to link the scattered data and facilitate exchange of information among different databases.

The NBC 2012 also proposed district-level master plans for biodiversity conservation based on an integrated community-led, bottom-up approach.

Resource valuation

K.P. Lalad, organising secretary, NBC 2012, has said biodiversity resource valuation had been identified as an important policy tool for fixing benefit-sharing criteria and signing access and benefit-sharing agreements. The NBC, he said, was developing models for bio-resource valuation.

The NBC 2012 stressed the need for communication, education and public awareness of biodiversity. Another major recommendation was to promote traditional land use practices and community agro biodiversity management efforts for ecological sustainability.

The congress called for revitalising dietary and food biodiversity, including the use of neglected species, underutilised crops and traditional varieties and breeds to achieve food security. Highlighting the translocation effect of pesticides, it warned that this could be detrimental to organic farming.

The NBC underlined the importance of conserving indigenous cattle breeds of Kerala like the Vechur and High Range Dwarf. It also recommended signing contractual agreements with traditional knowledge holders or providers to ensure sharing of benefits.

The congress issued a call for a ban on using animals covered under the Wildlife (Protection) Act for dissections.

To conserve marine biodiversity, some of the measures suggested included building awareness of turtle conservation, enforcing regulations on sale and consumption of turtle meat and eggs, establishment of coastal eco-development committees, shoreline protection using geo-tex, better vigilance against beach sand mining and illegal trawling.

An official pressnote quoting Balakrishna Pisupati, Chairman, NBA, said the next National Biodiversity Congress would be held in Kolkata from October 3 to 5, on the theme ‘Leading from Behind’.

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