Representing India at the United Nations(UN) Biodiversity Summit on the occasion of 75th anniversary of the UN General Assembly, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, said that as we are approaching the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 there is an urgent need to accelerate action to conserve biodiversity.
The summit is first of its kind ever taken place on Biodiversity in the United Nations General Assembly. The Biodiversity Summit was participated by Head of States/Minister level representing the countries which are party to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Union Environment addressed the summit virtually.
The full text of the Environment Minister’s address is as follows:-
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- I stand before this august gathering to address the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly as a representative of one of the seventeen mega-bio-diverse countries in the world.
- Since time immemorial, India has a culture of not just conserving and protecting nature, but living in harmony with nature.
- The emergence of COVID-19 has emphasized the fact that un-regulated exploitation of natural resources coupled with un-sustainable food habits and consumption pattern lead to destruction of system that supports human life.
- However, COVID-19 has also shown that Nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably.
- As we are approaching the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 there is an urgent need to accelerate action to conserve biodiversity.
- As enshrined in our Vedic scripts “PrakritiRakshatiRakshita” that is if you protect nature, nature will protect you.
- Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, the ethos of non-violence and protection of animals and nature have been suitably enshrined in the Constitution of India and is reflected in several laws and legislations.
- It is due to these beliefs and ethos that India, with only 2.4% of the earth’s land area hosts around 8% of the world’s recorded species.
- I am happy to inform this august gathering that in the course of last decade, India has enhanced the combined forest and tree cover to 24.56% of the total geographical area of the country.
- We now have the highest number of tigers in the wild and have doubled its numbers ahead of the deadline of 2022and recently announced the launch of Project Lion and Project Dolphin.
- India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land, and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030.
- India has already set aside extensive area for meeting the conservation objectives, contributing to Aichi Biodiversity Target-11 and the SDG -15.
- India has established a comprehensive institutional and legal system to realize the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- India has operationalized a system for access and benefit-sharing provisions of the CBD through a national network of 0.25 million Biodiversity Management Committees across the country involving local people and 0.17 million Peoples Biodiversity Registers for documentation of biodiversity.
- The post-2020 global biodiversity framework that will be adopted at the 15th Conference of Parties to the CBD in 2021 provides a good opportunity to enhance efforts to conserve and protect nature.
- India has already taken leadership role in order to conserve biodiversity by organizing two Conference of Parties(CoPs) within a span of less than a year
- We organized CoP-14 of UNCCD during September, 2019 in New Delhi, followed by CoP 13 of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in Gandhinagar in Gujarat during February 2020.
- India has been championing the cause of “climate action” through conservation, sustainable lifestyle and green development model.
On the occasion of the “75th anniversary of the UN” and the start of the “UN Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development”, lets join our efforts to put nature on a path to recovery and realize the vision of “living in harmony with nature”.
I thank you.