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Experts for implementation of Biodiversity Act

Written by: Staff

Bhubaneswar, May 6: Experts in Bio diversity management have urged Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa governments to implement Bio diversity conservation and management as required by the Biodiversity Act, 2002.

At a recently held national workshop on Mangroves and Coastal Biodiversity, the experts have adopted the '' Bhubaneswar Declaration on Coastal Biodiversity and Mangroves Beyond 2006'' while deliberating the strategies for biodiversity development in the coastal states of the country.

Considering the fast dwindling natural resources and consequent livelihood insecurity, the workshop urged the Bay of Bengal Maritime state governments to implement the process during 2006 as per the Biodiversity Act, 2002 by establishing state boards, biodiversity management committees (BMC) and taking up preparation of the people's biodiversity registers.

While recommending the Biodiversity authority, the workshop urged the state governments to involve local bodies to participate in the implementation of the provisions of the Biodiversity Act from panchayat levels to the state level.

Expressing concern over the drastic reduction of bird population and species and the consequent negative impacts on the community, the workshop urged the state governments to identify and recognise all the bird congregation and nesting sites in their respective coastal areas and provide with appropriate budgetary allocations for initiating community management of bird conservation.

The experts urged the Biodiversity Authority and the Centre to proactively promote a network of bird sites or a bird corridor or flyways in the East Coast in partnership with communities, institutions and NGOs.

The workshop praised the Orissa government for its commitment towards turtle conservation but recommended introduction of co- management mechanism with community-based organisations.

It said the Orissa government and the Centre should adequately allocate resources to promote co-management of turtle conservation and compensate community institutions for participating in management and conservation of turtles.

The workshop noted that there has been a marked depletion of fishery resources in the Bay of Bengal and suggested fishing holiday (ban period) as a major safeguard, as required by Maritime Fisheries Regulation Act (MERA) of the respective state. The workshop recommended the Orissa government not to convert any degraded and neglected existing mangrove sites of any size and magnitude and stressed the need for utmost priority to lease and earmark such area exclusively for mangrove conservation to local communities and institutions.

It suggested that the forest, revenue and fishery departments should introduce rights based regimes in place of open access regimes and exclusive government controlled regimes for conservation of mangroves in the unprotected areas.

The Centre and the state governments should provide financial and technical resources to village panchayats for mangrove regeneration and afforestation with high priority, the experts said.

On the dwindling population of mangrove species, the workshop further recommended that these species should be enlisted in the appropriate schedule of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

While recognising some of the adverse impacts of present forms of eco-tourism, especially in coastal and island ecosystems and in the absence of coherent eco tourism policies at national and state levels, the workshop suggested the development of eco tourism policies and guidelines in consultation with all stakeholders, incorporating social and environmental standards.

The experts maintained that the environmental and social impact assessments need to be incorporated in all eco tourism development processes and eco tourism projects which should be periodically evaluated, monitored and regulated based on research findings.

About sixty participants from four states representing universities, forest, fisheries, tourism departments, scientific institutions, NGOs and CBOs discussed biodiversity status.


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