The second Indian Biodiversity Congress (IBC 2012) held at Bangalore earlier this month has called for a ban on field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in India and a 10-year moratorium on Bt food crops.

The three-day event, which witnessed a large turnout of scientists, conservationists, environmentalists, civil society groups and local communities from across the country, stressed the need to bring the regulation of biotechnological processes and products under the purview of the Biodiversity Act. For the purpose, the Department of Biotechnology should be brought within the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it suggested.

PANJIM: The Goa State Biodiversity Board, in its first substantial meeting in many years and first since the board was reconstituted, has taken a strong stand that no project in Goa will go ahead without the consent of the Board.

According to sources present at the Board meeting, the members of the board were of the unanimous view that no project should be granted permission and neither can any other environment regulatory bodies such as the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority or the Goa State Pollution Control Board issue their respective permissions without the permission of the biodiversity board.

A Division Bench of High Court of Karnataka headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen said on Tuesday that dharnas must be organised against the United States of America for its ‘continued intransigence in complying with global biodiversity norms.’

“This might perhaps be the best solution to the problems of global biodiversity conservation,” the Division Bench noted during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by the Environment Support Group (ESG) alleging large-scale violation of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, various related laws and the convention on Biological Diversity, 1992.

First State to form BMCs

The government has formally declared the constitution of Biodiversity Management Committees in all the 978 grama panchayats, 60 municipalities, and the five Corporations in Kerala, signalling the shift to a broad-based system for the conservation of biological resources.

Addressing the media after a Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Kerala had become the first State to have completed the formation of BMCs in all local-self government institutions

It was under pressure to complete the ratification process.

Institutionalised mechanism forbenefit sharing mooted

As India gets ready to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) arising from utilisation of genetic resources, scientists and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) experts point to the dangers of opening up the country’s rich biodiversity for exploitation by foreign powers without a domestic regulatory framework in place. The first meeting of the signatories to the protocol is being held in connection with the 11{+t}{+h}Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity which began in Hyderabad on Monday.

Pending ratification of the Nagoya Supplementary Protocol, non-government organisations (NGOs) are demanding that the Indian government enact a domestic legislation for liabilities and redress of living-modified organisms (LMOs).

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on liability and redress to the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety closed for signature in March 2012 with a total of 51 signatories, including India. The Supplementary Protocol dealt with the liability and redress on damage resulting from living modified organisms (LMOs).

As India plays host to the Convention on Biological Diversity's 11th Conference of the Parties in Hyderabad in October 2012, this article takes a closer look at the country's legislation on the subject - the Biological Diversity Act (2002).

Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department of the State Government has formulated the Sikkim Biodiversity Action Plan with the objective of preserving the State’s natural and cultural heritage.

Traditional rice varieties of Kerala appeared to be vanishing as a study has found as many 55 species of paddy seeds extinct in Wayanad district in northern part of the state due to various reasons