The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by the Community and all the Member States at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992, and come into effect in 29th December 1993. It is an international legally binding treaty. The Convention has three main goals:
- conservation of biological diversity
- sustainable use of its components
- fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources
For realizing the objectives of CBD, Government of India enacted an umbrella legislation called the biological Diversity Act 2002 aimed at conservation of biological resources and associated knowledge as well as facilitating access to them in a sustainable manner and through a just process.
- To implement this Act central government established a body called as National Biodiversity Authority, under the power conferred by section 8 of CBD Act. It started functioning from 1st October 2003. The NBA is an Autonomous body .The main functions of the Authority are, according to Ministry of environment and forest.
- It shall be the duty of the National Biodiversity Authority to regulate activities referred to in sections 3, 4 and 6 and by regulations issue guidelines for access to biological resources and for fair and equitable benefit sharing.
- The National Biodiversity Authority may grant approval for undertaking any activity referred to in sections 3, 4 and 6.
- The National Biodiversity Authority may advise the Central Government on matters relating to the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of biological resources;
- The National Biodiversity Authority may advise the State Governments in the selection of areas of biodiversity importance to be notified under sub‑section (1) of section 37 as heritage sites and measures for the management of such heritage sites;
- The National Biodiversity Authority may perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
- The National Biodiversity Authority may, on behalf of the Central Government, take any measures necessary to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India or knowledge associated with such biological resource which is derived from India.
It is a 3 tier system
At national Level: National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
At State Level: State Biodiversity Boards (SBB’s) – Advise the State Governments, subject to guidelines issued by the Central Government, on matters relating to conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilization of biological resources.
On local Level: Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC’s) – Prepare, maintain and validate People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in consultation with the local people. T Advice on any matter referred to it by the State Biodiversity Board or Authority for granting approval.
Currently there are SBBs in 26 States, and around 33,426 BMCs. BMC’s can be a major tool for implementation this whole system but actually it is not working. There are not all areas of country which have proper BMC’s working there and this register maintenance is these days is just a matter of formality. Current chairman of authority is Dr. Balakrishna Pisupati , and office is situated at Chennai.
(Sources: National Biodiversity Authority, MEOF )