India moves ahead with conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (ANI): Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said that India is well placed to lead the way in incorporating the value of nature into national, regional and local policy making.

Speaking at 'Stakeholder Consultations on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in India' (I-TEEB) here, he said India soon would launch a scheme in three states, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra and introduce a market-based system for control of air pollution.

"We introduce legal changes. For the first time in last December, the Ministry promulgated the rules for ecological functions. We created regulatory authority also," he added.

He further informed that India is one of the recognized mega-diverse countries of the world. With an area of about 329 mha, India is 7th largest country in the world.

"With only 2.4 per cent of world's land area, India accounts for 7 to 8 per cent of the recorded plant and animal species of the world," he added.

Talking about diversity in biodiversity of India, he said: "India has ten bio-geographic zones and also four global biodiversity hotspots.

"India is endowed with vast forest resources. The total forest and tree cover of the country is estimated at 23.39 per cent of the geographic area, of which forest cover accounts for 21.02 per cent," he added.

Stakeholders consultations on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity in India aims to recognize, demonstrate, capture and optimize the value of biodiversity and ecosystem service and targets policy actions at national and state levels, improvements in business assessments and disclosure, and improved citizen awareness of the issues involved.

A framework will be developed for strengthening biodiversity conservation programs and initiating action for assessing the economic value of India's natural capital.

The study will also facilitate to meet the objective to adopt an open, transparent and competitive mechanism for allocation, pricing and utilization of biological resources.

Based on the recommendations of the study of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) hosted by UNEP, the 'India TEEB' consultations will pilot assessments in some of the States and will be showcased at the 11th Conference of Parties Meeting on the Convention of Biological Diversity to be held in India from October 1 to 19, 2012. (ANI)

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