Biodiversity is core to our livelihood, says Hem Pande, joint secretary, in MoEF

India would seek scaling up of existing level of funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UK’s Overseas Development Administration (ODA), “to fulfil the Strategic Plan and Aichi” biodiversity conservation targets, a top official of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) said here on Thursday.

At side event to the ongoing XI UN Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity here, Hem Pande, joint secretary, in MoEF pointed to the “huge gap” in the present GEF funding of four million US dollars and the actual requirement of 13 billion dollars. “If we have to align with other countries in meeting the biodiversity targets, this gap needs to be covered”.

Similarly, if the ODA funds are increased from the present growth rate of about six percent or 5.5 billion US dollars to ten per cent or about 40 billion US dollars, it would go a long way in helping the country in all biodiversity related activities, he said.

National goals

Mr. Pande said raising the funding level was important not only for achieving international biodiversity targets but for national goals. Resource mobilisation was an unfinished agenda item at the previous COP 10 at Nagoya in Japan and it has rightfully assumed centre stage in Hyderabad COP 11. It was not as if India was only looking at funding from international agencies, the MoEF’s budget for biodiversity related activities had gone up phenomenally. India is recognised as a mega-diverse country rich in biodiversity with just 2.4 per cent of land area of the world accounting for nearly 7 per cent of the recorded species and supporting 17 per cent of human and 18 per cent of cattle population, he said while pitching for more funds.

“Biodiversity is core to our livelihood and I do not know what will happen to 300 million people who depend on it if we ignore the sector.”

The event organised by GEF saw participation of its key officials as Gustavo Fonseca and presentation of case studies of GEF funded projects such as “Eco-development project- Periyar Tiger Reserve” by Pramod Krishnan.

  • ‘Raising funding level is important for achieving national goals too’

  • The MoEF’s budget for biodiversity related activities had gone up phenomenally.