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Now, India has a National Microbe!

Oct 18, 2012

Side events at Hyderabad included naming a national microbe and releasing an outcome document on education.

Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s Minister of State for Environment and Forests, released the Outcome Document on Education and Biodiversity Conservation. The Outcome Document was the output from the two day International Conference on ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Education for Sustainable Development - Learning to Conserve Biodiversity in a Rapidly Changing World’ held at Hyderabad during CoP-11.

The Conference was attended by over 250 participants who deliberated in 4 working groups namely Formal Education, Non Formal Education, Education for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods and Education for Biodiversity Conservation in Urban and Industrial Areas.

The Outcome Document came out of a consultative process which began prior to the Conference and this draft was shared and deliberated on in the working groups. The document released by the minister will be used to develop the strategic action plan for education which will enhance the processes leading to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity targets.

The Minister also announced the National Microbe for India which was selected by children who had visited the Science Express Biodiversity Special, a train which has been visiting various stations across the country. Voting for the National Microbe took place in these stations and the children have selected the Lactobacillus (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus) to be the National Microbe for India.

In another unique initiative, to recognise outstanding work in biodiversity conservation at the grass roots level, the Union Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly presented awards to models of biodiversity governance from across the country.

The awards were presented to the representatives of the winners at a ceremony held on the sidelines of the ongoing UN convention on biological diversity in Hyderabad. Quoting Indian Environment Minister Jayanti Natarajan, a UNDP press release said, "Conserving biodiversity and harnessing it on a sustainable basis is critical for realising development goals. Biodiversity governance in India needs to enable this on a sustained and equitable basis."

The minister also announced that the India Biodiversity Awards will now be an annual feature, to mark International Biodiversity Day on May 22 each year. The winners of the awards were included  Pir Jahania Jungle Suraksha Samiti from Odisha in the community stewardship category, Shankarpur Village Gram Panchayat from Maharashtra in the category of decentralised management, Van Utthan Sansthan from Rajasthan in the category of co-management and Periyar Tiger Reserve in the protected areas category.

The awards aim to address the relationship between biodiversity loss, livelihood challenges of local communities and sustainable development, the UNDP release said. The India Biodiversity Awards received 150 nominations from across the country based on a call for nominations earlier this year.

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