Today(May 22,2014),UP Biodiversity Board celebrated International Biodiversity Day at Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh ,India.The venue was Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University ,Lucknow.The chief guest was Dr. S. W. A. Naqvi,Director, National Institute of Oceanography,Goa,India.The other invitees included Dr. Gurdeep Singh,Vice Chancellor of the law University,Sri B.C. Chaudhury, Sri Deepak Apte, Smt Meetali Kakkar, Dr. Rauf Ali, Dr. A. R. Tirunavukarsu,Dr. Dhruv Sen Singh.Here below is the gist of what I said:
The issues related to ecology , environment and climate change are becoming really urgent , as each day passes.There are a large number of tuberculosis cases reported in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, due to the contamination and pollution of drinking water supply , caused by the effluents discharged by Thermal Power Plants , Coal mines , Cement plants and a few large industries in that district .National Green Tribunal has passed orders for supply of pure drinking water through tankers , and also installation of Reverse Osmosis Plants at the sources of drinking water .This situation shows the need for taking urgent action on the model of development that we must choose .Any development model must take ecology and environment into account.Otherwise it could be at the cost of health of the citizens.This urgency was also emphasized by Al Gore in The Inconvenient Truth.
While the theme of International Biodiversity Day , 2014 has been declared as Island Biodiversity, and I have no doubt that it is important to conserve biodiversity of islands.But I decided to focus on biodiversity issues in general , with special reference to Uttar Pradesh.I was sure that chief guest and other speakers will cover the theme of Island Biodiversity.There is a need to preserve and coserve the endangered species like Vultures,Dolphins,Turtles , Ghariyals and Lions in U.P.But equally important is the conservation, preservation and governance of biodiversity , in general in every nook and corner of the state.
While the Biodiversity Act of 2002 is over 11 years old , the awareness of its importance is yet to reach in all over one lac villages of Uttar Pradesh.Local Biodiversity Management Committees have to be set up in all the 53000 Gram Sabhas.Also People's biodiversity registers have to be made in each gram Sabha, by biodiversity resource mapping.Thirdly , commercial exploitation of natural resources requires regulation , and also there is a need for equitable distribution of profits.
For good biodiversity governance, we must involve:
1.Government departments and agencies.
3.local self governance institutions and local bodies like municipal corporations and district Panchayats, etc.
4.Government supported institutions such as Joint forest management committees and Eco development councils.
5.Companies and businesses.
We also need to manage our Protected areas better.After intellectual , legal and technical discussions , we need to take biodiversiy issues to the masses.
With the partnership of Centre of Environment Education(CEE) and state agencies like UP Pollution Control Board ,UPO Biodiversity Board and Lucknow Zoo , we have decided to take three initiatives:
1.Running of a Biodiversity Bus to schools.
2.Environment youth leadership awards.
3.Setting up of a state of the art Interpretation Centre at Lucknow Zoo.