Biodiversity is the foundation for life: Virbhadra Singh

SHIMLA: Biodiversity is the foundation for life and for essential services provided by ecosystems and governments are recognizing the importance of biodiversity not only for conservation but also for a sustainable economic future. Chief minister Virbhadra Singh said this while presiding over the closing ceremony of one day training workshop on ’Mainstreaming Biodiversity: sustaining people and their livelihoods’, organised by Himachal Pradesh State Biodiversity Board and State Council for Science, Technology and Environment in Shimla.

He said that biological resources were foundation for life. "Currently, we are affecting the biodiversity with unsustainable consumption," he said. He said that decline of biodiversity was a serious threat to human development.

He said there is a need to stop habitat destruction, over harvesting, pollution etc. and there was an urgent need to collaborate and reverse the trend with our actions. He said that Biodiversity Act, 2002 covers conservation, use of biological resources and associated knowledge occurring in India for commercial or research purposes or for the purposes of bio-survey and bio-utilisation.

"I am informed that the district Shimla, Chamba, Kullu and Sirmaur has been selected in the first phase for Biodiversity Conservation and 200 Biodiversity Committees have been formed," he added.

He said that Protected areas are key to safeguarding natural habitats for plant and animal diversity. Though they keep people out, but it necessitates conservation of habitats of both plants and animals. He said that without cooperation of local communities, conservation loses momentum. He asked the Panchayat representatives to constitute Biodiversity Management Committees in their respective Panchayats and said that the state government would allocate Rs 60,000 for such Panchayats so that the Biodiversity Act could be implemented effectively and great care should be taken in the preparation of People’s Biodiversity Register.

"By halting biodiversity loss and empowering people to conserve their biological inheritance,, we are investing in people, their lives and their well-being", said the Chief Minster, adding that 70 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and were dependent on biodiversity for survival and wellbeing.

He expressed concern over the decline in nutrient value of the crops cultivated by farmers now-days. He said that the farmers were cultivating only those crops and growing those vegetables, which were fetching them high monetary returns.

 

"Though this was also a necessity, but I fear, that the day was not far when the traditional crops would completely vanish," he said. He said that it becomes imperative to know and understand the value of traditional crops and initiate measures to conserve the natural resources.

Source: The Times of India, 9th Feb., 2017