The fourth edition of the Indian Biodiversity Congress (IBC 2017) which came to a close in Puducherry on Sunday, has urged research institutions to work on ‘drought and flood-tolerant crops’ available indigenously, and ecological farming techniques that would reduce release of carbon from soils by offering improvement and innovations in the traditional biodiverse farming methods.
It also called for prioritizing research on agro-biodiversity documentation at grass roots levels, genetic improvement of local crops, develop base-line data on nutritional status of local crops and products from livestock, documentation of genetic diversity, and food processing, marketing and quality improvement of by-products using the rich biodiversity of the country. IBC also observed that promotion of biodiverse farming is the solution not only for carbon sequestration but also for addressing the issue of drought as organic soils alone retain the ability to retain more water. In the changing environmental scenarios the R and D centers and researchers should also give priority to undertake research on a mission mode to address the local issues faced by the farmers in agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries, and to fully utilize the human resources under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for attaining food security.
Calling upon the government to frame necessary policy, and technical and financial means to mainstream climate change considerations into agricultural sectors and provide a basis for operationalizing sustainable agricultural development under changing conditions in order to make Climate Smart Agriculture into a reality, IBC 2017 reminded that agriculture needs to be made economically viable through a system of “guaranteed incomes”.
The other recommendations submitted to the government include demand for a time bound action plan on People’s Biodiversity Registers, envisaged as mandatory in the Biological Diversity Act of India in order to achieve the biodiversity targets set by the United Nations Convention on Biology Diversity for 2020. IBC 2017 called for urgent action by the National Biodiversity Authority to establish Biodiversity Boards in all the Union Territories of India in order to complete the mandates.
The congress also mooted documentation of traditional knowledge prevailing at the grass roots, with a proper planning for protection of traditional knowledge and access and benefit sharing. IBC 2017 observed that the concept of biodiversity is not there in the agenda of the political parties in India. It also said the genetic diversity of agricultural crops should be better documented and the lesser known food crops of the country should be fully utilised to achieve food security.
Pointing out that a review and reform of the IPR Regime is imperative, the IBC 217 said ensuring life, life forms, and traditional knowledge and practices associated with Biological Diversity, need to be kept totally out of the IPR purview. It also called for community involvement in conservation. Children should be made aware of the consequence of the biodiversity loss and its impact on environment, it recommended.
The Fourth Indian Biodiversity Congress (IBC 2017) came to a close with Dr. Kiran Bedi IPS (Retd), Lt Governor of Puducherry, delivering the valedictory address on Sunday. Suggesting that IBC 2017 should be more constructive in implementation rather than just remaining on paper, Dr.Kiran Bedi IPS, who was the Chief Guest of the valedictory function said that IBC, along with the Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University, should convert 780 acres of the university campus into a biodiversity rich as well as organic
campus before the January 26, 2018. Terming it “Project 780 acre”, she said it should begin immediately and primary conversion must be over before August 15. The Vice Chancellor and the Eco-Club members and other members of the university took an oath read out by the Dr. Bedi to make Project 780 acre a grand success.
The Lt Governor also gave away the prizes to the winners of the oral and poster presentations and school children who participated in the Students Conclave, organised in connection with IBC 2017. The Lt Governor had an informal discussion with Dr. Vandana Shiva and Prof. Anisa Basheer Khan, Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University, on how to expand the functions of the IBC throughout the Union Territory.
The valedictory function was also addressed by Dr.Vandana Shiva, Prof. Anisa Basheer Khan M. Dwarakanath, Director, Department of Science, Technology & Environment & Member Secretary, Puducherry Pollution Control Committee, Dr.Ramkumar, Director, Industries Department, Govt. of Puducherry, Dr.G.G Gangadharan, Vice Chairman, IBC, Dr.P.N Krishnan, Secretary General of IBC 2017 and Dr. S Jayakumar, Organising Secretary.
IBC 2017 which got off to a start on Friday with Chief Minister of Puducherry V. Narayansamy inaugurating the three-day event at the J. N. auditorium, Pondicherry Central University. The programme was organized by Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), Thiruvananthapuram, in association with Pondicherry Central University, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Puducherry, Navdanya, New Delhi, Pondicherry Science Forum, Puducherry and various Governmental
and Non-Government organisations.
The three day Congress was witness to 10 plenary talks delivered by invited speakers on the focal theme on Climate Change and Biodiversity. Apart from the focal theme, IBC 2017 had 12 other subthemes. Over 600 delegates from all states and Union Territories, as well as from countries like Nepal, France and Malaysia attended IBC 2017. As many as 240 oral and 278 poster presentations were part of the event. It was decided to organise the 2018 IBC at Dehradun, under the auspices of Navdanya.
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