22 May : It is the need of the hour to give human face to environmental issues, empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development to conserve bio-diversity. Delivering a presidential address at Darwin200- India function organized to celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity here today, Dr. G. V. Subrahmanyam, Advisor, Ministry of Environment & Forests, appealed people to learn the difference between preservation and conservation. He informed that India is one of the mega-diversity countries and one of the eighth primary centres of origin of cultivated plants and enjoys 3 of the 34 bio-diversity hot-spot zones on Earth. More than 45,000 species have been recorded and identified in taxonomy group which constitutes 11.80% of world’s flora. We also have a large number of fauna, he added. Elaborating this year’s theme, Dr. Subrahmanyam explained Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and said that tours, travels and transportation of goods create disturbances in biological stability. Invasive Alien Species in the form of plants, animals and micro-organisms which are not indigenous to specific ecosystem become established in new environment, then proliferate and spread in ways that are destructive to human interests, ecosystems and environment. This new species might be of help or they might turn into a nuisance creating various problems.
Elaborated on India’s actions towards bio-diversity, he informed that India is one of the very few countries to have a legislative mechanism to protect bio-diversity and has enacted the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and the Bio-diversity Rules, 2004 but this is not sufficient. Participation from people is inevitable to solve this problem, he insisted. Referring to very wide socio-cultural-economic diversity, Dr. Subrahmanyam added that conflicting and unequal stakeholder’s demands accelerated efforts, towards effective conservation and management of living resources, sustainable use of bio-diversity and fair and equitable sharing of benefits. Giving details of problems, he further elaborated habitat fragmentation, over-exploitation of natural resources, desertification, unplanned change in land-use, pollution, impact of climate change and invasion of exotic species that overpower natives – through natural & anthropogenic induced actions are big threats that we have to fight.
Dr. Warren L. Mellor, Director and UNESCO’s Representative, congratulated the winners of the Poster Design Competition and said that children have understood the meaning of evolution in right spirit. Celebrating bicentenary year of Charles Darwin who gave ‘Theory of Evolution’ will help to understand bio-diversity and other stages of evolution. Dr. Mellor added that Darwin taught us the mysteries of nature and now it is our turn to preserve and conserve the nature and human-beings for future generations.
‘Darwin 200- India Poster Design Competition’ was jointly organized by National Museum of Natural History, Ministry of Environment & Forests and UNESCO. The prizes were awarded today on the International Day for Biological Diversity. NMNH & UNECO organized the contest Darwin 200- India Poster Design Contest all over India at New Delhi and its Regional Centres at Mysore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar and Sawai Madhopur on the occasion of World Heritage Day i.e. 18th April, 2009. Two Hundred students participated in each centre and the first three entries formed part of the national level competition. The three best entries were selected for national level prizes and next three entries were given regional level prizes. The winners expressed their views about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, ‘struggle of survival’ and ‘adapt, survive and thrive’ in the ruthless world. Earlier Dr. B. Venugopal, Director, NMNH welcomed Guests and gave details of NMNH’s activities.