[Editorial Analysis] Saving biodiversity, securing earth’s future

Mains Paper 3: Ecology and Environment
Prelims level: World Environment Day
Mains level: Environment conservation and impact assessment

Context:

• On the occasion of World Environment Day (5th June) the author talks about saving our biodiversity which serves as a perpetual source of spiritual enrichment, intimately linked to our physical and mental well-being.

Staggering value of forests:

• Author suggests that estimates suggest our forests alone may yield services worth more than a trillion rupees per year.

• Globally, we have lost 7% intact forests since 2000, and recent assessments indicate that over a million species might be lost forever during the next several decades. India is also facing the same problems.

• Climate change and the ongoing pandemic will put additional stresses on our natural ecosystems.

• He suggests that repairing our dysfunctional relationship with nature is one of the ways to mitigate climate change and curtail future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

• Preserving biodiversity is directly relevant to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our people. We must rethink and reimagine the concept of “One Health “.

Investments in the field:

• In 2018, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) in consultation with the various ministries approved National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being (NMBHWB).

• Bengaluru-based Biodiversity Collaborative is working with the National Biodiversity Authority to hold consultations and prepare road maps of the Mission.

• It has potential to strengthen the science of restoring, conserving, and sustainably utilising India’s natural heritage; embed biodiversity as a key consideration in all developmental programmes, particularly in agriculture, ecosystem services, health, bio-economy, and climate change mitigation.

• To establish a citizen and policy-oriented biodiversity information system; and enhance capacity across all sectors for the realisation of India’s national biodiversity targets and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

• India will emerge as a leader in demonstrating linkage between conservation of natural assets and societal well-being.

An important framework:

• The pandemic has exposed the dysfunctional relationship between humanity and nature, and we must urgently address the issue.

• It led to emergence of infectious diseases; lack of food and nutritional security; rural unemployment; and climate change, with all its stresses on nature, rural landscapes, and public health.

• Mission offers a holistic framework, integrated approaches, and widespread societal participation and empower India to restore, our natural assets by millions of crores of rupees.

• Mitigation programmes will lessen the impacts of climate change and other natural disasters, such as pandemics and floods.

• To rejuvenate agricultural production systems and increase rural incomes from biodiversity-based agriculture while also creating millions of green jobs in restoration of degraded lands (1/3 of total land) and nature tourism.

• It will help India meet its commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and UN SDGs related to pressing social issues including poverty alleviation, justice and equity, and protection of life.

• It will generate a strong national community committed to sustaining biodiversity, promoting social cohesion and uniting the public behind an important goal.

• Scientific inputs, especially related to geospatial informatics and policy, can guide the development of strategies for conservation and ecosystem management.

• “One Health” programme, integrating human health with animal, plant, soil and environmental health, has both the preventive potential to curtail future pandemics along with the interventional capability for unexpected public health challenges.

Need for a cadre:

• We need a strong and extensive cadre of human resources required to meet the enormous and complex environmental challenges of the 21st century.

• It needs training professionals of in sustainability and biodiversity science, along with an investment in civil society outreach.

• Public engagement, whether it is in the policymaking arena, or in exploration, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, is a critical component of the planned Mission.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA), consider the following statements:
1. It is a statutory body under the Companies Act 2013.
2. It is under the Union Ministry of Finance.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What do you mean by the process of ecosystem restoring? What are the benefits of ecosystem restoration?

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