In News: A month after the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt, diplomatic retinue went into a contentious huddle again to save the planet — in Montreal, Canada, this time, and as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
What is Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):
- It traces its origins to the Rio summit of 1992
- It is a multilateral treaty ratified by 196 countries for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.”
- Its overarching goal is to encourage actions that will lead to a more sustainable future.
- It includes – Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol
Importance of biodiversity:
- Economic stability – Biodiversity is source of income for many people. It provides raw material such as fibre, oil, dyes, etc., for industries. For the food producing industry, crops are the raw materials, which are biodiversity.
- Aesthetic importance – Biodiversity is also the source of refreshment and enhance recreational activity such as bird watching, trekking, fishing, etc.
- Source of food – Humans derive almost 80% of food supply from 20 kinds of the plants.
- Human health – it provides Ecosystem services which are necessary for the survival of the human beings
- Research and medicine – Study of wildlife, their anatomy, physiology and functioning leads to better understanding and development of the human medicine.
- Infectious disease – Microorganisms that cause the disease or the vectors that transmits them both are the part of the biodiversity. Patterns of the infectious disease hugely depends upon the interactions of biodiversity
- Climate change- Climate is an integral part of ecosystem functioning, human health is directly and indirectly affected by interaction between biodiversity. Longer term changes in climate affect the viability and health of ecosystems, influencing shifts in the distribution of plants, pathogens, animals, and even human settlements.
- India covers 2.4% of the world’s geographical area and accommodates 11.4% of the planet’s plants (about 48,000 species) and 7.5% of its animal population (about 96,000 species), as per government data from 2011.
- India has lost about one-third of its natural wetlands–that are home to migratory birds and large numbers of plants and fish species–to urbanisation, agriculture and pollution over the past four decades.
- A crowdsourced data study by the Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI) at ATREE, India Spend reported in March 2022, found that Bengaluru has lost at least 208 of its over 1,350 lakes.
Challenges to biodiversity:
- Unlike cyclones and melting glaciers that have become visual aids to bring home the climate crisis wrought by invisible gases, biodiversity loss continues to be largely invisible despite its victims being extremely visible.
- Extinction of species: UN reckons, an estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species, including one in eight of the world’s bird species, face extinction.
- About 30% of breeds of main farm animal species are currently at high risk of extinction.
- Almost 50% of the world’s birds are undergoing population decline.
- At least 97 mammals, 94 bird species and 482 plant species in India are threatened with extinction, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of plant and animal species that have been endangered.
- Forest degradation: Forests are home to much of the known terrestrial biodiversity, but about 45% of the earth’s original forests are gone, cleared mostly during the past century.
- Lack of accounting: Because much of this extinction is not finely accounted for as the rise in per capita carbon emissions or temperature swings, it fails to evoke the urgency it deserves.
- The ‘Living Planet Report 2020’ by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) identified land and sea use change and overexploitation of resources as the key drivers of biodiversity loss across the globe, along with other causes including invasive species, pollution and climate change.
- Freshwater biodiversity loss – According to a 2020 WWF factsheet, it is declining faster than that in oceans or forests around the world.
- Limited budgetary allocations – In India, the total funds for conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, including aquatic ecosystems, was decreased to Rs 58.50 crore from Rs 62 crore in 2021-22.
- The budget for biodiversity conservation was slashed from Rs 12 crore to Rs 8.5 crore.
- Population growth and increasing demands – Higher the population, more would be the exploitation of the biodiversity
- Climate change – It brings extremities in nature, some of which are irreversible.
- Like climate conferences, establishment of differing levels of responsibility towards biodiversity conservation. This may require richer nations to be more generous funders of global conservation efforts.
- Measurable targets: “What cannot be measured, as the adage goes, cannot be understood or addressed” such as countries have agreed on preparing concrete road maps by 2024 and the richer ones, committing $30 billion an annum by 2030.
- Area-based conservation is essential to safeguard nature’s diversity.
- It comprises protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
- In-situ monitoring techniques, remote sensing and open data infrastructures can fill data and information gaps for protected area planning and management.
- Adaptive management is an auspicious concept in the framework of systematic conservation planning to ensure the enduring effectiveness of protected areas despite unpredictable future developments.
- Habitat conservation such as wetlands, afforestation, national park, wildlife reserves and many more.
- Captive breeding and the seed bank, Avoidance of invasive species and creation of buffer zones
- Education and Awareness among the local people regarding the importance of the biodiversity is very important.
- MoU between India and Nepal in the field of biodiversity conservation to enhance coordination and cooperation in the field of forests, wildlife, environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change
- Countries must also engage in restoration of corridors and interlinking areas and share knowledge and best practices.
Source: The Hindu