National Biological Diversity Act was enacted in 2002 for giving effect to the provisions of the CBD. Objective of this act is to regulate the access to genetic resources and protection of biodiversity. This act provides for establishment of statutory bodies such as National Biodiversity Authority, State Biodiversity Boards, National and State Biodiversity Funds, Biodiversity Management Committee etc.
The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 by the Central Government to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002). The NBA is a Statutory body and that performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory function for Government of India on issue of Conservation, sustainable use of biological resource and fair equitable sharing of benefits of use.
The Biological diversity Act (2002) mandates implementation of the provisions of the Act through decentralized system with the NBA focusing on advice 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; advice the State Government 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 state Biodiversity Board (SBBs) focus on advice the State GovernmentS, subject to any guidelines issued by the Central Government, on matters relating to the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of biological resources.The NBA considers requests by granting approval or otherwise for undertaking ant activity referred to in Sections 3,4 and 6 of the Act.
The SBBs also regulate by granting of approvals or otherwise upon requests for commercial utilization or bio-survey and bio-utilization of any biological resource by the Indians.The Local Level Biodiversity Management committees (BMCs) are responsible for promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivators, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and microorganisms besides chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity.
The NBA with its Headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India delivers its mandate through a structure that comprises of the Authority, secretariat, SBBs, BMCs and Expert Committees.
State Biodiversity Board
The Biodiversity Act 2002 mandates each state to notify its State Biodiversity Board. We note here that there is no provision for a Biodiversity Board for a Union Territory because Union Territories have been placed under National Biodiversity Authority.
Functions of State Biodiversity Board include:
- To advise state governments on matters of biodiversity conservation
- Regulate commercial use of bio-resources in the state by Indians. This has two exceptions:
- Vaids and Hakims, who are practicing Indian medicinal system.
- Local People, who use the bioresources for local use.
National Biodiversity Fund
Whatever money National Biodiversity Authority receives as fees, fines etc. and whatever money it gets as grants etc. is kept in the National Biodiversity Fund. The money from this fund is used to benefit the claimers and promotion of conservation and socio-economic development in source areas.
State Biodiversity Fund
This fund has to be created at state level to credit any grants and loans made to the State Biodiversity Board by the National Biodiversity Authority and money from other sources. The money is used in the management and conservation of heritage sites; compensating or rehabilitating any section of the people economically affected when an area is declared Biodiversity Heritage Sites; and conservation and promotion of biological resources.
Biodiversity Heritage Sites
“Biodiversity Heritage Sites” (BHS) are well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the following components: richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories, high endemism, presence of rare and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance, wild ancestors of domestic/ cultivated species or their varieties, past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values and are important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human association with them
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