Since 2000, there has been a 7% decline of complete forests worldwide, and new estimates suggest that over a million species may be gone entirely in the coming decades. Climate change, as well as the current pandemic, will place extra strains on our ecological systems. These phenomena are not exclusive to India.
Nowadays, it is becoming evident that restoring our broken relationship with environment is one of the best strategies to slow climate change and prevent future outbreaks of infectious illnesses that could cause untold suffering.
As a result, biodiversity conservation is closely linked to social, economic, and environmental well-being.
India’s Biodiversity Importance:
- India’s Biodiversity Hotspot: India has portions of four of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots and is host to roughly 8% of global biodiversity on just 2.3 percent of global land area.
- Staggering Economic Value: While the exact economic value of all ecosystem services given by biodiversity is unknown, estimates imply that India’s forests alone could generate services worth over a trillion rupees per year.
- It’s also easy to picture how much more value grasslands, wetlands, freshwater, and sea can contribute to this.
- Natural Disaster Protection: Many ecosystems that span land, rivers, and oceans sustain our people, improve public health safety, and safeguard us from natural disasters.
- Spiritual Enrichment: Our biodiversity is also a constant source of spiritual refinement, as it is inextricably related to our physical and mental well.
Vision of NMBHWB:
- In 2018, the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) authorised an ambitious National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change as well as other Ministries.
- The Mission offers a national initiative to enhance biodiversity science by connecting it to people’s economic well-being.
- It also aspires to assist India in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by utilising India’s vast biodiversity to provide answers to issues such as agriculture, health, and climate change.
- Research institutions, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations will collaborate on this mission to classify, map, appraise, monitor, and utilise our immense but dwindling natural resources sustainably.
- In order to conserve and secure Indian biodiversity, the Mission would also assist in the development of a cadre of biodiversity science specialists.
- Finally, the Mission seeks to spark a popular movement that would inspire India’s vast population to take pride in our natural heritage and contribute to its restoration and conservation.
Impact of NMBHWB
The pandemic has revealed mankind’s broken relationship with nature, prompting us to focus on issues such as the spread of infectious diseases, a shortage of food and nutritional security, rural unemployment, and climate change, among others. The mission can assist in this situation in the following ways:
- Boosting the Rural Economy: Through biodiversity-based agriculture, the goal may revitalise agricultural production systems and raise rural incomes while also providing millions of green employment in restoration and nature tourism.
- Increasing International Commitment: The Initiative can assist India in meeting its objectives under the new CBD framework, as well as UN SDGs relating to pressing social issues such as reducing poverty, justice and equity, and life preservation.
- Furthermore, the mission has the potential to help India become a pioneer in proving the connection between natural resource protection and societal well-being.
- Economic Benefit: The Mission’s comprehensive efforts will enable India to repair and even grow its natural resources by millions of rupees.
- Furthermore, restoration initiatives across India’s degraded lands, which cover nearly a third of the country’s geographical area, might provide several million employment on their own.
- Creating a Strong National Community: It will create a strong national community dedicated to preserving biodiversity, encouraging social cohesion, and unifying the people behind a common objective.
- Envisioning the One Health Concept: The concept of One Health for all living organisms, including the unseen biota in soils that sustain our agricultural systems, has to be rethought and reimagined.
- The One Health idea offers both the potential to prevent future pandemics as well as the ability to intervene in unexpected public health issues.
- Dedicated Cadre: To face the massive and complex environmental issues of the twenty-first century, a powerful and extensive cadre of human resources is necessary.
- This will necessitate the training of top-tier sustainability and biodiversity scientists, as well as an investment in civil society outreach.
- Facilitating Cultural Change: The advantages of environmental change will be maintained and continued forward by millions of students, from kindergarten to postgraduate levels, through environmental education.
- Promoting Nature-based Solutions: There is a need to promote nature-based solutions to a variety of environmental difficulties, such as river, forest, and soil degradation, as well as continuous climate change risks, in order to build climate-resilient communities.