Biodiversity Conservation - Challenges for the Future

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An Initiative towards Achieving the ‘Access and Benefit Sharing’ Provisions of Biodiversity Act 2002 and Rules 2004, India

Pp. 151-156 (6)

Sudipta Mukherjee, Soumyendra Nath Ghosh and Debal Ray

Abstract

One of the major concepts of conservation of biodiversity on the International and National level is “equitable sharing of benefits arising out of uses of genetic resources”. The main instrument for ensuring this in India is documenting biodiversity along with traditional knowledge in the form of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR). The PBR database reveals that a large number of Traditional Rice Varieties are being maintained, till date, by the farmers on their own. It is reported that 467 traditional varieties are still in cultivation in the fields of West Bengal, against a number of nearly 5000 that existed 50 years back in the state. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right (PPV&FR) Act 2001 [1] offers rights to the farmers that is akin to some degree to Biological Diversity Act, 2002. West Bengal Biodiversity Board has taken initiative to build synergy between these two Acts. As per Section 14-19 of the PPV & FR Act, the process of registration of varieties in the name of concerned farmer/group of farmers from different parts of the state has been initiated which would provide them a right to get adequate compensation from those who develop the new varieties for commercial benefits using the traditional ones. These two complementary acts may change the scenario of “Access and Benefit Sharing” provisions, particularly in the agricultural sector.

Keywords:

Access Benefit Sharing, Biodiversity Act, CBD, equitable sharing, farmer’s varieties, People’s Biodiversity Register, PPV& FR Act, Rice, traditional knowledge.

Affiliation:

West Bengal Biodiversity Board, Poura Bhawan, 4th Floor, FD-415A, Sector – III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, India.