Union Minister of State for Human Resources, D. Purandeswari has called for striking a balance between economic growth and biodiversity conservation and said there should be no negative impact on the livelihoods of coastal people due to development.

Participating in a side-event on “ Sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity” at the ongoing COP 11 here on Thursday, she said that 167 crop varieties were grown in India and around 5,000 flora species were endemic to India.

Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity based on local knowledge was not new to Indian ethos, the Minister said.

Pointing out that coastal areas were not only rich in biodiversity wealth, but also play a key role in weather and hydrological cycle, she said a major challenge was to put in place a mechanism for equitable distribution and benefit-sharing of biodiversity resources.

Another huge challenge was effective implementation of various laws relating to biodiversity by harmonising them.

Expressing concern that large-scale development activities were undermining survival of coastal and marine eco-systems, she called for coordination between various departments as there was no point in working in water-tight compartments.

Eminent agricultural scientist, M.S. Swaminathan said that sea water comprised 97 per cent of world water resources. The fishing community did not receive the attention it deserved for long time and said that a high-level expert panel had recommended scientifically-designed sea water farming movement.

Y.S. Yadava from UN’s Bay of Bengal Programme, an Inter-Governmental Organisation, called for sustainable use of resources so that they could be passed on to future generations in pristine condition. Good governance and application of technology were needed to maintain sustained use of resources.

Dr. V. Selvam from M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) said there was a need for a paradigm shift in the policies from wean away to sustainable livelihood approach to supporting traditional system of biodiversity management in coastal areas.