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India calls for innovating financing methods for biodiversity conservation

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Thursday that tribal and other local communities that are cultivating or engaging in other activities for their livelihood should be exempted from the Biological Diversity Act to find a balance between development of the local community and conservation of biodiversity.

"The Biological Diversity Act will be implemented to lay greater emphasis on the local community's interest and to encourage research in the area of biodiversity to make necessary changes in policy to ensure more access and benefit sharing (ABS)," Yadav said, adding, "We need to encourage investment for sustainable use with necessary regulations to increase ABS fund, which can be used for conservation of biodiversity and betterment of the local community."

The minister was speaking at the two-day South Asian Consultation Meeting on the ‘Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework' that was held here in a hybrid manner.

With its over 1.97 billion human population and high biological diversity, South Asia faces formidable developmental challenges and impediments, which are amplified by the weak socio-economic status and the presence of high natural resource dependent communities, he said.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in addition to representatives from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal; the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Washington; French Embassy in New Delhi; UNDP-India; IUCN Offices in Canada and Singapore; National Geographic; and Campaign for Nature, Montreal, said a release from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Yadav said that India subscribes to the theory and practice of green infrastructure development and ‘Development with Design', particularly in the linear infrastructure sector that "we build to promote economic development, conservation and connectivity" and claimed that "conservation is mainstreamed in all sectors of economic development under the philosophy of Development without Destruction".

The minister said that India has joined over 75 countries that are part of the 30 by 30 High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. In South Asia, Pakistan and Maldives too have joined this.