India urges nations to put ‘nature at heart’ of recovery plan post COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised that un-regulated exploitation of natural resources coupled with un-sustainable food habits and consumption patterns lead to destruction of systems that support human life, said Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday and urged nations to put “nature at the heart” of their recovery plan post-pandemic.

Javadekar represented India at the virtual Ministerial Roundtable Dialogue on Biodiversity Beyond 2020: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.

The ministerial was hosted by China, one week ahead of the upcoming United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, to exchange views on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Around 15 ministerial representatives from countries with adequate regional representation, as well as the heads from relevant international organisations participated in the event, according to a statement by the Ministry of Environment.

“At the #Biodiversity roundtable urged the nations to join hands on the occasion of the start of the @UN Decade of Action and Delivery for #SustainableDevelopment, and to put nature at the heart of our recovery plan post #COVID19,” the Minister tweeted.

Addressing on the occasion, the Minister said that India has already been taking leadership role in biodiversity conservation by hosting two Conference of Parties (COPs) within a span of less than a year, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP in September 2019 and CMS COP in February 2020.

“With just 2.4 percent of the land area, India accounts for nearly 8 percent of the recorded species even while supporting almost 18 percent of human population as well as cattle population and has also enhanced forest cover to nearly 25 percent. In addition, India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land, and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030,” the statement quoted Javadekar as saying.

With tiger population doubled in the last 11 years India has the largest wild tiger population, he said.

The Minister further informed the roundtable that India being a megadiverse country, has a robust legal and institutional set up for biodiversity governance and an established system for access and benefit-sharing provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with a network of 250 thousand Biodiversity Management Committees across the country involving local people and 170 thousand Peoples Biodiversity Registers for documentation of biodiversity.

“In view of the Global Biodiversity Outlook report presented recently by CBD, we have no option left except to join hands and to conserve and protect nature and said that India believes that the 15th Conference of Parties to the CBD scheduled in 2021 at Kunming, China for adoption of post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework provides a unique opportunity,” he said.

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