The State of Maharashtra wakes up late for mapping its biodiversity

The State of Maharashtra wakes up late for mapping its biodiversity

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Will Maharashtra miss the opportunity to contribute to a national-level mega biodiversity mapping and a base document for biodiversity strategy and action plan, despite being a think-tank of environmentalists?

A meeting of environmental activists across the State involved in writing and documenting the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) was held with the nodal agency for the State— the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration —YASHADA officials and Ministry of Environment Forestry’s NBSAP evaluation and monitoring committee member H S Panwar on April 30th 2002.

Even as the YASHADA director-general, in a major fire-fighting exercise, virtually reorganised the core group working for the State and national-level plans, the information presented during the meeting this morning gave a dismal picture of the State’s contributions to NBSAP, a first tangible effort towards documenting the biodiversity’s ups and downs across the country. The State was found to have generated eight of the expected 24 theme papers in the past one-and-a-half years while other efforts like biodiversity festivals were found to have summarily absent.

Interestingly, the meeting also found total silence on part of the State Department of Environment as far as NBSAP and the State plans are concerned. Maharashtra, in fact, had started on a very strong note, but now there was a need to deliver the results, Panwar said making a point that there was no point detailing the failure, since time was running out fast.

Kalpavriksha, a city-based NGO coordinating NBSAP’s technical and policy core group already has commenced compiling the National Action Plan, and Maharashtra would have to finish the early stages of its report by May end, according to Kalpavriksha’s Ashish Kothari.

Kalpavriksha already has received 50 draft reports across the country. The national plan began in June 2000 is expected to have 74 action plans coming from all the states besides 18 plans from specially identified local sites, 10 eco-regions and 13 thematic plans elaborating on social, economic, political and inter-generational equity, Kothari added.

YASHADA director-general Dr Sudhirkumar Goel who took over recently made a point today that his organisation would keep its commitment with NBSAP as the nodal agency for Maharashtra. Yet he suggested that simultaneous efforts to make the process more meaningful be made by ensuring that recommendations reflect in the planning process.