India Biodiversity Awards 2016: Recognizing Champions of Biodiversity Conservation

May 22, 2015

Photo: Fayaz Kabli / UNDP India

India is one of the most biodiverse-rich countries in the world, home to nearly eight percent of the world’s total recorded plant and animal species. Across the country, people, communities and governments have played an outstanding and innovative role in conserving India’s rich heritage.


Since 2012, the India Biodiversity Awards have recognized excellence in governing and conserving biodiversity. The importance of local action cannot be underscored in a country with an estimated 45,000 plants and 91,000 animal species.

Announced by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and UNDP, the Award recognizes excellence in four categories. The Awards are an acknowledgement of the contribution of a range of stakeholders to biodiversity conservation, and are aimed at encouraging effective implementation of the Biological Diversity Act 2002.

The four categories are:

  • Conservation of threatened species: Conservation efforts by individuals and institutions that have significantly reduced threats to at-risk species
  • Sustainable use of biological resources: Efforts led by individuals and institutions that have resulted in better natural resource management and equitable benefits to communities  
  • Replicable mechanisms for access and benefit sharing: Efforts led by individuals and institutions that have resulted in  equitable sharing of benefits between communities and other stakeholders
  • Biodiversity Management Committees: Efforts by Biodiversity Management Committees to scientifically and systematically document the wealth of traditional knowledge  on biological resources

For over a decade, UNDP has worked closely with central and state governments to conserve the country’s rich biodiversity including promoting participatory conservation of biodiversity and water resources; providing inputs to National Biodiversity Strategies; and demonstrating multi-sectoral approaches to conserving biodiversity and traditional medicinal plant knowledge.

On the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and UNDP will launch the Biodiversity Finance Initiative to promote increased investment in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity, and focus on opportunities to unlock resources at the national level.

Call for nominations will be announced shortly

Stories of Change

Conserving Medicinal Plants, Sustaining Livelihoods

Conserving Medicinal Plants, Sustaining Livelihoods
Since 2008, UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and the Global Environment Facility is promoting sustainable use and conservation of medicinal plants in the three ecologically-fragile states of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh. 

4,000 School Students Join the Launch of the Clean Beach Programme in Sindhudurg

4,000 School Students Join the Launch of the Clean Beach Programme in Sindhudurg
A ‘Clean Beach’ campaign launched by the Ministry of Environment and Forests; Department of Forests, Government of Maharashtra and UNDP drew thousands of children to the beaches on the Sindhudurg coastline in southern Maharashtra on 12 January 2013.

The Biodiversity Challenge - Supporting India’s Ecosystems

The Biodiversity Challenge - Supporting India’s Ecosystems
Recognising India’s rich biodiversity, the United Nations Development Programme is supporting several initiatives to conserve the country’s rich and diverse ecosystems and demonstrate strategies to reduce poverty.

The Biodiversity Challenge - Supporting India’s Ecosystems
Recognising India’s rich biodiversity, the United Nations Development Programme is supporting several initiatives to conserve the country’s rich and diverse ecosystems and demonstrate strategies to reduce poverty.

The Biodiversity Challenge - Supporting India’s Ecosystems
Recognising India’s rich biodiversity, the United Nations Development Programme is supporting several initiatives to conserve the country’s rich and diverse ecosystems and demonstrate strategies to reduce poverty.

The Biodiversity Challenge - Supporting India’s Ecosystems
Recognising India’s rich biodiversity, the United Nations Development Programme is supporting several initiatives to conserve the country’s rich and diverse ecosystems and demonstrate strategies to reduce poverty.

Easing Troubled Waters: Conserving the Gulf of Mannar’s Biodiversity

Easing Troubled Waters: Conserving the Gulf of Mannar’s Biodiversity
UNDP has partnered with the Government of Tamil Nadu to demonstrate the possibilities of conserving the environment and encouraging sustainable development processes in the Gulf of Mannar.

In Eye of the Forest: Conserving Biodiversity, Building Sustainable Futures

In Eye of the Forest: Conserving Biodiversity, Building Sustainable Futures
Recognizing the close communion between communities and natural resources, UNDP is supporting several initiatives in Chhattisgarh to help communities conserve traditional knowledge, build awareness on conservation-friendly gathering practices and help people, particularly women access the market to sell their produce.

Conservation of Medicinal Plants

Conservation of Medicinal Plants
India has a rich resource base of medicinal plants, plush with about 8,000 different species. According to the Government of India (GoI), traditional medicines are the sole means of health care for about 65 percent of the population.

Photo Essays

Conserving Medicinal Plants, Protecting Traditional Knowledge

Conserving Medicinal Plants, Protecting Traditional Knowledge 
Since 2008, UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and the Global Environment Facility is promoting sustainable use and conservation of medicinal plants in the three ecologically-fragile states of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh.

People and Seas: Coastal and Marine Biodiversity in Sindhudurg

People and Seas: Coastal and Marine Biodiversity in Sindhudurg  
Sindhudurg , on the coast of Maharashtra is one of 11 ecologically critical habitats in India. Since 2011, a UNDP partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the government of Maharashtra, is supporting efforts to conserve the enormous biodiversity wealth of the coastal area. The partnership is supported by the Global Environment Facility.

Women Adapt to Climate Change in Odisha

Women Adapt to Climate Change in Odisha
The photo-essay shows how a UNDP partnership with the Government of Odisha, supported by the Australian Agency for International Development is enabling women in Puri district in Odisha to adapt to extreme weather events.

India: from 'slash and burn' to sustainable farming

India: from 'slash and burn' to sustainable farming
A joint programme between UNDP and the Nagaland Government is introducing subsistence farmers like Atula to new kinds of sustainable agricultural practices.

Protecting the Ocean’s Ambassadors

Protecting the Ocean’s Ambassadors
Since 2009, UNDP in India has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Government of Odisha to conserve large areas of land outside protected areas and develop community conserved areas. Over 6,000 community conserved areas have been identified to support conservation activities in partnership with local communities. In the coastal district of Ganjam, the Rushikulya river is one such location. It is home to one of the most significant mass nesting sites of sea turtles in the world.

Publications

  Government of India – UNDP Partnership on Biodiversity Conservation
The booklet, showcased at the eleventh conference of parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, is a compilation of UNDP India's work on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
   
  The Power of Local Action for Sustainable Development: Lessons from 10 Years of the Equator Prize
The publication is structured around key lessons which concern: prioritizing the social strand of sustainable development; environment as a platform for community-driven development; local organizations as delivery mechanisms for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the fusion of modern and traditional knowledge, institutions, and management approaches; the importance of communications and networks in behavior change; the centrality of land tenure security and resource rights; the delivery of good governance at the local scale; the potential for scaling; the potential and imperative of scaling-up success; and the importance of partnerships.
   
  Joint evaluation of the international response to the Indian Ocean tsunami
The report, an outcome of the international collaborative process involving the UN, donor govts and NGOs, evaluates key relief and recovery efforts and analyses how tsunami response has proceeded so far in mitigating future disasters.
   
  Technological Cooperation and Climate Change
The publication comprises working papers presented at a consultation on 'Technology Cooperation for Addressing Climate Change' organised jointly by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme.
   
  Bio-cultural Community Protocol of the Men-Hing (Medicinal Plants) of the Monpa (Sartang) of Salari, Arunachal Pradesh
The report sensitizes local communities of Salari area in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh to the various laws governing the sharing of knowledge associated with natural resources. By doing so, it not only seeks to improve sustainable natural resource management but also empower communities.  
   
  Bio-cultural Community Protocol of the Baigas, Traditional Healers’ Community, Tatidhar Village, Marwahi Forest Division, Chhattisgarh
The report aims to protect the rich traditional knowledge of the Baigas community, a primitive tribal group, on the healing properties of medicinal plants found in the forests near their villages. It also seeks to promote more equitable agreements on benefits sharing of natural resources and the associated traditional knowledge with third parties.
   
  Bio-cultural Community Protocol of Danus and Takulis of Jhuni
The report sensitizes local communities of Jhuni in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand to the legal control they can exercise over management of their natural resources and the associated traditional knowledge.