Biodiversity is us and we are biodiversity – Innovative methods to conserve biodiversity | 1st June 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It analyses the current biodiversity practises in India and suggests some innovative methods.


  • GS3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment;
  • Essay;
  • Prelims


  • We recently observed International Biodiversity Day, which falls on May 22. Climate change is causing an existential dilemma in the world today.
  • While we are continually creating new technology to address the problem of climate change, we frequently underestimate the importance of natural biodiversity in addressing this issue.
  • Thus, the writer of the article examines how conserving biodiversity might be used to help address the issue of climate change.

International Day for Biological Diversity – 22 May

  • The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
  • When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity.
  • In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.
  • Themes:
    • 2023 – From agreement to action: Build back biodiversity
    • 2022 – Building a shared future for all life
    • 2021 – We’re part of the solution
    • 2020 – Our solutions are in nature
    • 2019 – Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health


  • Importance of biodiversity in dealing with the issue of climate change:
    • Mitigation of climate change is just one benefit that we get when we conserve our natural biodiversity.
    • It also fulfils our basic needs for food, shelter, medicines, mental health, recreation, and spiritual enrichment.
    • It is biodiversity that will restore our degraded lands and polluted rivers and oceans and sustain our agriculture in the face of climate change.
    • It is biodiversity that will form the basis of a new sustainable green economy. And it is biodiversity that will inspire our children to opt for a more humane, just, and hopeful future, which accords primacy to the living world.
  • Declining state of the natural biodiversity across the globe:
    • Despite the importance of biodiversity that ultimately sustains all human endeavours, we have been poor stewards for caring and nurturing life on earth.
    • Globally as well as in India, we have failed to adequately conserve and manage our precious, irreplaceable natural heritage.
    • Biodiversity is declining worldwide, and our last remaining, largely isolated ecosystems are degrading due to changes happening around them, such as loss of species, climate stressors, and continuous human pressures.
  • Suggestions:
    • Wider interpretation:
      • Currently, the main custodian of the natural world is the Indian Forest Service. But the term “Forest” to describe our immense and unique natural heritage is flawed.
      • India’s biodiversity is not only on land but also in water bodies, rivers, deltas, and oceans. A rich array of our ecosystems is in the form of grasslands, savannas, alpine pastures, deserts, and other types of ecological communities.
      • Even in the 20th century, people had started to talk about living organisms and the interconnectedness manifested as ecosystems and ecosystem services in multifunctional landscapes dominated by humans.
      • In the 21st century, the basic terms “forests” and “wildlife” have limited meaning or usefulness.
    • Role of local communities:
      • We must think of multifunctional landscapes, where aspirations, beliefs, traditional knowledge, and direct participation of local communities are central to the notion of conserving and sustaining life on earth.
      • In 2006, policymakers in India enacted the Forest Rights Act, that called for an increase in the stake of indigenous groups in ownership as well as management of biodiversity.
      • However, the Act largely remains on paper, yet to be implemented on the ground.
      • Seventeen years later, it is time to even move beyond the Act’s steps to fundamentally alter the way we manage our biodiversity.
    • Mainstreaming biodiversity: National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing (proposed)
      • India’s leading conservation biologists, working under the umbrella of the Biodiversity Collaborative based in Bengaluru, conceptualised the idea and developed a road map for the Mission approved in principle by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Council.
      • The Mission will enable our country to meet critical challenges in climate change, natural and regenerative agriculture, and ecosystem and public health using biodiversity and ecosystem services — usually referred to as nature-based solutions.
      • The ultimate goal is to enhance and conserve biodiversity to foster human well-being; more specifically, to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, nutrition and health, and environmental protection, and support an era of new green economy.

Way Forward:

  • In many ways, biodiversity is us and we are biodiversity. Thus, civil society must play a critical role in sustaining our biodiversity. A paradigm shift in the care of biodiversity, long overdue, must begin now, flowing from this International Biodiversity Day.

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