Pune: There is a dire need for mass level awareness about biodiversity and bio-conservation, said officials from Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSBB) here on Wednesday.
They were present for a day-long workshop on training government officials and members of NGOs on Biodiversity at Bharati Vidyapeeth College under the GIZ Indo-German Biodiversity Programme on Wednesday.
The programme is one of bilateral cooperation with Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to reinforce the mandate of the Nagoya Protocol by implementing Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project through National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)and the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) of Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) norm was included in the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. As per Section 7 of the act, “Prior intimation to state biodiversity board for obtaining biological resource for certain purposes needs to be given in Form-I. So no person, who is a citizen of India or a body corporate, association or an organisation which is registered in India, shall obtain any biological resource for commercial utilisation, or bio-survey and bio-utilisation for commercial utilisation except after giving prior intimation to the SBB.
As per the Biodiversity Act, every local body shall constitute a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMCs) within its area of jurisdiction to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with local people. The Register contains comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other traditional knowledge associated with them. Speaking about the work of SBB, Vivek Dawre from SBB said, “20,500 BMC’s have been formed in the state. The board has issued notices to more than 1,500 companies about ABS but only 127 companies replied. The board has received Rs 33 lakh from companies which is to be distributed in BMCs. We have also decided to include bio-sensitive zones as heritage structures. Once the collector submits us details of the biodiversity area we can declare it as heritage structure so that it is not disturbed.”
Vilas Bardekar, Chairman of Maharashtra SBB said, “Tracing the bioresource to a particular BMC remains a challenge and so people from all departments including agriculture, forests, research institutes should come forward and help BMCs in mapping the bio-resource to its original BMC so that the BMC and our country is benefitted.”
Another speaker at the event Lavannya Vishnu Sagar a consultant in the field said BMCs should look for ABS potential when a company is using any bioresource. “BMCs can approach SBB and take their help while looking for ABS potential. Similarly, an agreement should be signed by BMC, SBB and the company using bioresource.” added Lavannya.
The workshop includes officials of agriculture, forests, gram panchayat, researchers and other persons. Aeshita Mukherjee, Shreyas Bhartiya, Mithilesh Kandalkar coordinated the workshop. Access and benefit-sharing (ABS) refer to the ways in which genetic resources may be accessed and how the benefits that result from their use are shared between the people or countries using the resources and the people or countries that provide them. Earlier as people were unaware of the use of resources, companies would exploit the resources and the benefits of the same would not reach to people.