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Nagoya Protocol

What is the Nagoya Protocol and what is its objective?

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Why is the Nagoya Protocol important?

The Nagoya Protocol will create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by:

  • Establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources.
  • Helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the country providing the genetic resources.

By helping to ensure benefit-sharing, the Nagoya Protocol creates incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources, and therefore enhances the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being.

What does the Nagoya Protocol cover?

The Nagoya Protocol applies to genetic resources that are covered by the CBD, and to the benefits arising from their utilization. The Nagoya Protocol also covers traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources that are covered by the CBD and the benefits arising from its utilization.

What are the core obligations of the Nagoya Protocol with respect to genetic resources?

The Nagoya Protocol sets out core obligations for its contracting Parties to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing and compliance.

Access obligations

  • Domestic-level access measures are to:
  • Create legal certainty, clarity and transparency
  • Provide fair and non-arbitrary rules and procedures
  • Establish clear rules and procedures for prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms
  • Provide for issuance of a permit or equivalent when access is granted\
  • Create conditions to promote and encourage research contributing to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
  • Pay due regard to cases of present or imminent emergencies that threaten human, animal or plant health
  • Consider the importance of genetic resources for food and agriculture for food security

Benefit-sharing obligations

Domestic-level benefit-sharing measures are to provide for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources with the contracting party providing genetic resources. Utilization includes research and development on the genetic or biochemical composition of genetic resources, as well as subsequent applications and commercialization. Sharing is subject to mutually agreed terms. Benefits may be monetary or non-monetary such as royalties and the sharing of research results.

Compliance obligations

Specific obligations to support compliance with the domestic legislation or regulatory requirements of the contracting party providing genetic resources, and contractual obligations reflected in mutually agreed terms, are a significant innovation of the Nagoya Protocol. Contracting Parties are to:

  • Take measures providing that genetic resources utilized within their jurisdiction have been accessed in accordance with prior informed consent, and that mutually agreed terms have been established, as required by another contracting party
  • Cooperate in cases of alleged violation of another contracting party’s requirements
  • Encourage contractual provisions on dispute resolution in mutually agreed terms
  • Ensure an opportunity is available to seek recourse under their legal systems when disputes arise from mutually agreed terms
  • Take measures regarding access to justice
  • Take measures to monitor the utilization of genetic resources after they leave a country including by designating effective checkpoints at any stage of the value-chain: research, development, innovation, pre-commercialization or commercialization

How does the Nagoya Protocol address traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources and genetic resources held by indigenous and local communities?

The Nagoya Protocol addresses traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources with provisions on access, benefit-sharing and compliance. It also addresses genetic resources where indigenous and local communities have the established right to grant access to them. Contracting Parties are to take measures to ensure these communities’ prior informed consent, and fair and equitable benefit-sharing, keeping in mind community laws and procedures as well as customary use and exchange.

Tools and mechanisms to assist implementation

The Nagoya Protocol’s success will require effective implementation at the domestic level. A range of tools and mechanisms provided by the Nagoya Protocol will assist contracting Parties including:

  • Establishing national focal points (NFPs) and competent national authorities (CNAs) to serve as contact points for information, grant access or cooperate on issues of compliance
  • An Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House to share information, such as domestic regulatory ABS requirements or information on NFPs and CNAs
  • Capacity-building to support key aspects of implementation. Based on a country’s self-assessment of national needs and priorities, this can include capacity to- 1. Develop domestic ABS legislation to implement the Nagoya Protocol 2. Negotiate MAT 3. Develop in-country research capability and institutions
  • Awareness-raising
  • Technology Transfer
  • Targeted financial support for capacity-building and development initiatives through the Nagoya Protocol’s financial mechanism, the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Great India Bustard vs Development

Bijli-sadak-paani are the basic needs for a decent quality of rural life. Villages in the remote grasslands and deserts of India have long suffered and lacked these amenities. But times are changing. The Great Indian Bustard, an ambassador of grasslands and deserts, and could-be national bird (if not for the objections that its name was open to misinterpretation) was once widespread across the dry rural landscapes of India. It has now disappeared from 90 per cent of its former range.

Justifiably, electricity, road and water facilities for rural households are the main agenda for development programmes. The present government has a target of electrifying seven lakh power deprived villages with mazes of power lines. About 1.7 lakh villages will be connected by constructing and upgrading 7.5 lakh kilometres of roads. The water needs of 80,000 sq km of agricultural land will be quenched through funding for irrigation projects. Bijli-sadak-pani will finally reach remote rural households.

However, this change has come at a cost to wildlife conservation. Many remote rural landscapes are also important wildlife habitats. The influx of infrastructure has modified these lands and wildlife is not amenable to such rapid changes. The expanding infrastructure in grasslands and deserts has been a death knell for the Great Indian Bustard. With just 200 bustards left, they are precariously close to extinction. Why is the bustard disappearing? The devil is in the details. Those who have travelled the interiors of Kutch or Thar about a decade ago will now find these landscapes transformed by bijli-sadak-pani. First, there is a change in farming practices as a perennial water supply (brought by the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project in Thar and by bore-well irrigation in Kutch) ensures land is cultivated intensively all through the year. Earlier, farming was only done during monsoons and this spared lands for bustards, antelopes and foxes.

Second, mazes of power lines are laid along aerial corridors. Bustards are on a collision course as they have narrow frontal vision that does not allow easy spotting of wires and being not very agile flyers they have poor manoeuvring skills.

The only breeding male in Nannaj Sanctuary that was radio-tracked by Wildlife Institute of India is one of the many birds that succumbed to electrocution and/or the impact of a collision. This is not only about the death of an individual bird but mathematical projections based on the bustards’ demography found that these accidental deaths are sufficient to cause bustards to go extinct. Yet, prime bustard habitats between Sam and Mokla in Thar and between Naliya and Bitta in Kutch are allocated for wind and solar power projects. These renewable power projects, touted as “green energy”, are actively pursued by the present government. An ambitious target of generating 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2020 means that about 2,000 sq km of land will be lined with solar panels that will be placed mostly in grasslands and deserts. In a final effort to save the bustard, conservation agencies have joined hands to restore its habitats and secure a captive bred population as an insurance against extinction. But reviving the bustard requires the importance of grasslands and deserts to be recognised.

Indian environmental laws mandate that infrastructure projects be scrutinised on the basis of environment impact assessments before granting clearances. Safeguards are suggested to reduce ecological damage, and their implementation is monitored. The problem is that forest-centric environmental governance does not recognise grasslands and deserts as worthy of conservation attention. This is an imprinted notion that is derived from an archaic colonial policy. Grasslands and deserts were not regarded as resources for the British economy — the notion of unproductive “wastelands” that are better diverted to “more productive” uses continues to this day. But grasslands and deserts support biodiversity that is so unique that their loss cannot be compensated by conserving forests. The 11th Five-Year Plan recommended that grasslands and deserts be brought under the ambit of environment impact assessment and consolidation of these habitats as “protected areas”. The second policy shortfall was the sole focus on “protected areas”, wherein efforts to protect the bustard inside sanctuaries went kaput as the same birds were dying outside during their wide expeditions. Many voices call for conservation policy to transcend “protected areas” and to manage land uses in “unprotected” biodiversity-rich areas. This transition is necessary since ecological processes are spatially interlinked and small protected areas lose their functions when processes are disrupted in surrounding rural landscapes.

The way forward need not be viewed through a lens of “this or that” — whether bijli-sadak-pani or conservation; development or environmental laws; protected or unprotected. It is more often a question of where and how to implement infrastructures in rural-wildlife habitats while trying to meet wildlife concerns. Rajasthan has pioneered the initiative of participatory land-use planning in bustard habitats. In a recent meeting, officers from the state forest department, revenue department, energy department and wind and solar power firms have agreed to avoid new power lines and renewable power projects from coming up on prime bustard habitats.

There is no doubt that balancing rural development and bustard conservation is one of the most formidable challenges we face. By confronting this challenge, we are at the tipping point for how land-use planning and environmental stewardship is possible in other parts of India.

Wetlands : New vs Old

Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, had been notified to replace the earlier set of guidelines that came into effect in 2010.
2,01,503 wetlands in the country – identified using ISRO’s satellite imagery.
Wetlands are defined as “an area of marsh, fen, peatland or water; whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres, but does not include river channels, paddy fields, human-made water bodies/tanks specifically constructed for drinking water purposes and structures specifically constructed for aquaculture, salt production, recreation and irrigation purposes”.
The 2017 Rules have done away with the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority (CWRA) entirely; National Wetland Committee, which has a merely advisory role, has taken it’s place.
A comprehensive digital inventory of all wetlands is to be prepared within a year; however, it is up to the states to decide which wetlands are to be notified.
Under ‘Restrictions of activities in wetlands’, the new Rules say conservation and management would be “in accordance with the principle of ‘wise use’ as determined by the Wetlands Authority”.
 The 2010 Rules listed six points describing protected wetlands; the new Rules have done away with them, and instead state that wetlands are limited to and do not include wetlands under forest and coastal regulation zones.
They apply to:
(a) wetlands categorised as “wetlands of international importance” under the Ramsar Convention, and
(b) wetlands as notified by the central government, state government and UT administration.
Restriction on activities in wetlands now no longer includes reclamation.
The Rules provide no timelines for phasing out solid waste and untreated waste from being dumped into wetlands.
The restrictions on “any other activity likely to have an adverse impact on the ecosystem of the wetland”, are not specified in the Rules.
The Rules do, however, restrict any kind of encroachment, poaching, or permanent construction, except for boat jetties within 50 metres of the mean high flood level observed in the past 10 years.
The 2010 Rules said “Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Authority (CWRA) may prefer an appeal to the National Green Tribunal within a period of sixty days from the date of such decision.” This provision does not exist in the 2017 Rules.

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)

The Action Plan was released on 30th June 2008. It effectively pulls together a number of the government’s existing national plans on water, renewable energy, energy efficiency agriculture and others – bundled with additional ones – into a set of eight missions. The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change is in charge of the overall implementation of the plan. The plan document elaborates on a unique approach to reduce the stress of climate change and uses the poverty-growth linkage to make its point. Emphasizing the overriding priority of maintaining high economic growth rates to raise living standards, the plan “identifies measures that promote development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.” It says these national measures would be more successful with assistance from developed countries, and pledges that India’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions “will at no point exceed that of developed countries even as we pursue our development objectives.”
Plan in a Nutshell

The guiding principles of the plan are:

  • Inclusive and sustainable development strategy to protect the poor
  • Qualitative change in the method through which the national growth objectives will be achieved i.e. by enhancing ecological sustainability leading to further mitigation
  • Cost effective strategies for end use demand side management
  • Deployment of appropriate technologies for extensive and accelerated adaptation, and mitigation of green house gases
  • Innovative market, regulatory and voluntary mechanisms to promote Sustainable Development
  • Implementation through linkages with civil society, local governments and public-private partnerships
  • International cooperation, transfer of technology and funding

National Missions

The core of the implementation of the Action plan are constituted by the following eight missions, that will be responsible for achieving the broad goals of adaptation and mitigation, as applicable.

  • National Solar Mission: The NAPCC aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based energy options. The plan includes: Specific goals for increasing use of solar thermal technologies in urban areas, industry, and commercial establishments; a goal of increasing production of photo-voltaic to 1000 MW/year; and a goal of deploying at least 1000 MW of solar thermal power generation. Other objectives include the establishment of a solar research centre, increased international collaboration on technology development, strengthening of domestic manufacturing capacity, and increased government funding and international support.
  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency: Current initiatives are expected to yield savings of 10,000 MW by 2012. Building on the Energy Conservation Act 2001, the plan recommends: Mandating specific energy consumption decreases in large energy-consuming industries, with a system for companies to trade energy-savings certificates; Energy incentives, including reduced taxes on energy-efficient appliances; and Financing for public-private partnerships to reduce energy consumption through demand-side management programs in the municipal, buildings and agricultural sectors.
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: To promote energy efficiency as a core component of urban planning, the plan calls for: Extending the existing Energy Conservation Building Code; A greater emphasis on urban waste management and recycling, including power production from waste; Strengthening the enforcement of automotive fuel economy standards and using pricing measures to encourage the purchase of efficient vehicles; and Incentives for the use of public transportation.
  • National Water Mission: With water scarcity projected to worsen as a result of climate change, the plan sets a goal of a 20% improvement in water use efficiency through pricing and other measures.
  • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem: The plan aims to conserve biodiversity, forest cover, and other ecological values in the Himalayan region, where glaciers that are a major source of India’s water supply are projected to recede as a result of global warming.
  • National Mission for a “Green India”: Goals include the afforestation of 6 million hectares of degraded forest lands and expanding forest cover from 23% to 33% of India’s territory.
  • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: The plan aims to support climate adaptation in agriculture through the development of climate-resilient crops, expansion of weather insurance mechanisms, and agricultural practices.
  • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: To gain a better understanding of climate science, impacts and challenges, the plan envisions a new Climate Science Research Fund, improved climate modeling, and increased international collaboration. It also encourages private sector initiatives to develop adaptation and mitigation technologies through venture capital funds.

The NAPCC also describes other ongoing initiatives, including:

  • Power Generation: The government is mandating the retirement of inefficient coal-fired power plants and supporting the research and development of IGCC and supercritical technologies.
  • Renewable Energy: Under the Electricity Act 2003 and the National Tariff Policy 2006, the central and the state electricity regulatory commissions must purchase a certain percentage of grid-based power from renewable sources.
  • Energy Efficiency: Under the Energy Conservation Act 2001, large energy consuming industries are required to undertake energy audits and an energy labeling program for appliances has been introduced.

Ministries with lead responsibility for each of the missions are directed to develop objectives, implementation strategies, timelines, and monitoring and evaluation criteria, to be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change. The Council will also be responsible for periodically reviewing and reporting on each mission’s progress. To be able to quantify progress, appropriate indicators and methodologies will be developed to assess both avoided emissions and adaptation benefits. Further, as on July 2015, around 27 States and 5 Union Territories have prepared State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) consistent with the objectives of NAPCC, focusing on the state specific issues relating to climate change and strategies to tackle them.

Via Arthapedia

Environment and Ecology: Capsule Part 1

Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law
National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has proposed to start a Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL) to deal with emerging and current biodiversity governance and policy related issues. The Government of Norway and India decided to collaborate. To provide professional support, advice and expertise to the Government of India and Norway.

National Hydrology Project
The project has been central to improve the planning, development, and management of water resources, as well as flood forecasting and reservoir operations in real-time. The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation/Central Water Commission have been implementing the National Hydrology Project. The World Bank has approved $175 million.

Green Train Corridors
Trains running on these corridors will be equipped with bio-toilets. The 114-km long Rameswaram-Manamadurai section of Tamil Nadu was made the India’s first Green Rail Corridor in July 2016. Bio-toilets for passenger coaches were developed jointly by Indian Railways and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

2016 India Biodiversity Award
Pakke Tiger Reserve in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh has won the India Biodiversity Award 2016. The tiger reserve was selected in the conservation of threatened species category for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme. The award is joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and United Nations Development programme (UNDP).

Operation Thunder Bird
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has coordinated “OPERATION THUNDER BIRD” in India, to end poaching of India’s wildlife animals. Operation Thunderbird is the code-name for INTERPOL’s multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation.

Operation Save Kurma
WCCB had convened a species specific operation on turtles.

Kendrapara sheep (kuji mendha)
The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has conferred rare and singular species genetic recognition tag to the threatened breed of Kendrapara sheep found in Odisha. The genetically rare status will help boost conservation effort to protect these domesticated threatened sheep. Kendrapada sheep are primarily used for production of mutton.

India’s First Tiger Repository
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will house the India’s first repository on tigers, under its new Tiger Cell at the WII campus in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The repository will consist of huge database on tiger conservation and population estimation which has been prepared with collaborated effort with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Arsenic Pollution
Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. It is a high-profile problem in the Ganges Delta, due to the use of deep tube-wells for water supply. The groundwater in the tube-wells have high concentrations of arsenic in deeper levels.

Ammonia detected in the upper Troposphere
Scientists for the first time have detected ammonia in the upper troposphere. It was found in highest concentrations above Asian monsoon regions of India and China. The ammonia (NH3) was released into the atmosphere as agricultural emission from livestock farming and fertilisation. The detected ammonia may be playing a role in the formation of aerosol in the troposphere. The aerosol may have an influence on the cloud formation and altering properties of existing clouds.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
In September 2016, the so-called New York Declaration urged a global reduction in the use of HFCs. On 15 October 2016, at the summit of the United Nations Environment Programme in Kigali, Rwanda reached a legally-binding accord to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Norway – First country to ban deforestation

Udaipur Declaration on disaster
Ministers of Disaster Management (MDM) of BRICS countries adoption the
Udaipur Declaration. The 2nd BRICS MDM meeting focused on two themes: ‘Flood Risk Management‘ and ‘Forecasting of Extreme Weather Events in the context of Changing Climate‘.

World’s largest Marine Protected Area
Ross Sea in Antarctica was declared as world’s largest Marine Protected Area
(MPA) to protect the Earth’s most pristine marine ecosystem. The deal, sealed by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) at an annual meeting in Hobart, Australia.

TanSat satellite
China has launched TanSat, a global carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring satellite to understand the effects of climate change. China became third country after Japan and United States to have its own satellite to monitor greenhouse gases (GHGs).


Environmental Conventions and Organisations- Part 6 (Last)

25. World Conservation Monitoring Centre

  • World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is an executive agency of the UNEP.
  • Based in Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
  • UNEP-WCMC has responsibility for biodiversity assessment and support to policy development and implementation to international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

26. EDGE of Existence programme

  • The EDGE of Existence programme is a research and conservation initiative that focuses on species deemed to be the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE). Developed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the programme aims to raise awareness of the world’s EDGE species, implement targeted research and conservation actions to halt their decline, and to train in-country scientists (called EDGE Fellows) to protect them now and in the future.
  • Some EDGE species, such as elephants and pandas, are well known and already receive considerable conservation attention, but many others, such as the Vaquita (the world’s rarest cetacean) the bumblebee bat (arguably the world’s smallest mammal) and the egg-laying long-beaked echidnas are highly threatened yet remain poorly understood and are frequently overlooked by existing conservation frameworks.

27. Friends of Earth

  • Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is an international network of environmental organizations in 74 countries.
  • ‘Friends of the Earth’ publication Meat Atlas includes graphs on the consumption and production of meat.
  • The current campaign priorities of Friends of the Earth internationally are:
    1. economic justice and resisting neoliberalism
    2. forests and biodiversity
    3. food sovereignty
    4. climate justice and energy


  • TRAFFIC is a joint programme of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). TRAFFIC also works in co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The programme was founded in 1976.
  • TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

30. The International Rhino Foundation
IRF is a Texas-based charity focused on the conservation of the five species of rhinoceros: the White Rhinoceros and Black Rhinoceros in Africa; the Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros in Asia.


31. Bombay Natural History Society
The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research. It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. Many prominent naturalists, including the ornithologists Sálim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley, have been associated with it.


UNESCO recognized Biosphere Reserves and Natural Heritage Sites of India


UNESCO World Heritage Sites (natural)

1. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam(1985)

2. Kaziranga National Park, Assam(1985)

3. Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan (1985)

4. Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal (1987)

5. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand (1988)

6. Western Ghats, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala (2012)

7. Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area, Himachal Pradesh (2014)

8. Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim (2016) 


UNESCO Recognised Biosphere Reserves

1. Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka

2. Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu

3. Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve West Bengal

4. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand

5. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, Meghalaya

6. Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, Madhya Pradesh

7. Simlipal Biosphere Reserve, Odisha

8. Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh

9. Great Nicobar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

10. Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, Kerala and Tamil Nadu

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