Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Mainstreaming Biodiversity: A Pivotal Step Towards a Sustainable Future


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Biodiversity, National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing

Mains level: Biodiversity, significance challenges and conservation


Central Idea

  • The observance of International Biodiversity Day on May 22 serves as a powerful reminder of the critical role our natural world plays in addressing the climate change crisis and the threat to our future posed by declining biodiversity. Preserving and enhancing biodiversity emerges as a cost-effective approach to sequester carbon dioxide and mitigate climate change.

What is Biodiversity?

  • Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms found on Earth, including plants, animals, microorganisms, and their interactions within ecosystems. It encompasses the diversity of species, genetic diversity within species, and the diversity of ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity is not limited to specific areas but exists everywhere, from terrestrial habitats like forests, grasslands, and deserts to aquatic environments such as rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • It also includes the diversity of habitats, ecological processes, and the complex web of relationships between organisms and their environment.
  • Biodiversity is crucial for the functioning of ecosystems and provides numerous benefits to humans. It supports essential ecosystem services, such as pollination, nutrient cycling, soil formation, and water purification.
  • Biodiversity also contributes to food security by providing a variety of crops, livestock, and wild foods. Additionally, it plays a vital role in medicine, as many pharmaceuticals are derived from natural sources.


The Decline of Biodiversity: key contributing factors

  • Habitat Loss: The conversion of natural habitats into agricultural lands, urban areas, and industrial zones is a primary driver of biodiversity loss. Deforestation, land degradation, and habitat fragmentation disrupt ecosystems and displace numerous species.
  • Climate Change: Rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events associated with climate change have a profound impact on biodiversity. Species may struggle to adapt or migrate quickly enough, leading to population declines and even extinction.
  • Pollution: Pollution, including air and water pollution, poses a severe threat to biodiversity. Chemical contaminants, such as pesticides, herbicides, and industrial pollutants, can accumulate in ecosystems and harm both flora and fauna.
  • Overexploitation: Unsustainable harvesting of wildlife, overfishing, and illegal wildlife trade put immense pressure on species populations. This overexploitation disrupts ecological balance and can lead to the collapse of ecosystems.
  • Invasive Species: Non-native species introduced into new environments can outcompete native species, disrupt ecological interactions, and cause harm to local ecosystems. Invasive species often lack natural predators or controls, allowing them to multiply rapidly.
  • Agricultural Practices: Intensive agricultural practices, including the use of chemical inputs, monoculture farming, and the destruction of natural habitats for agriculture, contribute to the loss of biodiversity. This impacts both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Disease and Pathogens: The spread of diseases and pathogens, both natural and human-mediated, can have devastating effects on wildlife populations. Diseases can cause mass die-offs and population declines, leading to decreased biodiversity.
  • Inadequate Conservation Efforts: Inadequate conservation measures, weak enforcement of protective laws, and insufficient funding for conservation initiatives contribute to the decline of biodiversity. Conservation efforts are often fragmented and not prioritized, further exacerbating the problem.
  • Lack of Public Awareness and Engagement: Limited awareness among the general public about the importance of biodiversity and the consequences of its decline hinders collective action. Engaging communities and fostering a sense of responsibility towards biodiversity is crucial for effective conservation.

Reimagining Biodiversity Management: A holistic and inclusive approach

  • Multifunctional Landscapes: Moving beyond the traditional focus on forests, biodiversity management should encompass diverse ecosystems such as grasslands, savannas, alpine pastures, and deserts. Recognizing the value of multifunctional landscapes allows for the conservation and sustainable use of various ecological communities.
  • Community Engagement: Empowering local communities and indigenous groups in biodiversity management is crucial. Their traditional knowledge, practices, and direct involvement are valuable assets for effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Establishing platforms such as gram sabhas and biodiversity management committees facilitates community participation and decision-making.
  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Biodiversity considerations should be integrated into all sectors and aspects of society. Development programs, government departments, public and private institutions, and industries should incorporate biodiversity conservation and sustainable practices as core principles.
  • Policy and Legal Frameworks: Ensuring effective implementation of regulations, enforcing laws against biodiversity crimes, and revisiting policies that hinder biodiversity protection are key steps. It is also important to support the rights of indigenous communities and local stakeholders through legal mechanisms.
  • Education and Awareness: Promoting biodiversity education and raising awareness about its importance among the general public, policymakers, and stakeholders is crucial. This includes integrating biodiversity topics into educational curricula, conducting awareness campaigns, and disseminating information about the benefits of biodiversity conservation.
  • Research and Science-Based Approaches: Investing in scientific research, monitoring, and data collection is vital for evidence-based decision-making and effective biodiversity management. This includes studying biodiversity patterns, understanding ecosystem dynamics, and identifying key species and habitats for conservation priorities.
  • Collaborative Partnerships: Building partnerships and collaborations among various stakeholders is essential. This includes government agencies, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, local communities, and private sectors. Collaboration fosters knowledge sharing, resource mobilization, and the implementation of joint initiatives for biodiversity conservation.
  • Sustainable Financing: Ensuring sustainable financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation is crucial. This includes exploring innovative funding models, leveraging public-private partnerships, and integrating biodiversity into sustainable development financing frameworks.
  • International Cooperation: Collaborating at the global level is necessary to address transboundary biodiversity issues. Sharing best practices, knowledge exchange, and aligning efforts with international conventions and agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) can strengthen biodiversity management.

Facts for prelims

What is biosphere reserve?

  • Protected area: A biosphere reserve is an area of land or water that is protected by law in order to support the conservation of ecosystems, as well as the sustainability of mankind’s impact on the environment.

Current status of Biosphere reserves

  • Worldwide: There are 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites.
  • In India:
  • Presently, there are 18 notified biosphere reserves in India. Ten out of the eighteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list.
  • In India, the first biosphere reserve was designated by UNESCO in 2000, namely, the blue mountains of the Nilgiris stretching over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Our Role as Caretakers: key actions we can take as responsible stewards

  • Sustainable Land Use: Promoting sustainable land use practices is essential to minimize habitat loss and degradation. This includes supporting initiatives such as reforestation, afforestation, and sustainable agriculture that maintain ecosystem integrity.
  • Responsible Consumption: Making informed choices as consumers can have a significant impact on biodiversity. Supporting sustainable and ethically sourced products, reducing waste, and opting for environmentally friendly practices can reduce the demand for products that harm biodiversity.
  • Preservation of Natural Habitats: Protecting and preserving natural habitats, including forests, wetlands, and marine ecosystems, is critical. This involves advocating for the establishment and expansion of protected areas, national parks, and wildlife reserves.
  • Sustainable Fisheries: Supporting sustainable fishing practices, such as responsible fishing quotas, implementing fishing regulations, and avoiding overfishing, helps maintain healthy marine ecosystems and protect marine biodiversity.
  • Support Conservation Organizations: Contributing to and supporting conservation organizations and initiatives can make a significant difference. Donations, volunteering, and participation in citizen science projects can aid in research, conservation efforts, and advocacy for biodiversity protection.


What is The National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing?

  • Objective: The mission aims to integrate biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services into various sectors to address critical challenges related to climate change, regenerative agriculture, and ecosystem and public health.
  • Enhancing Human Wellbeing: The mission focuses on fostering human well-being by enhancing and conserving biodiversity. It aims to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, nutrition and health, and environmental protection.
  • People-Centric Approach: The mission recognizes the importance of active engagement and participation of all citizens in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. It places people at the center of the mission’s activities.
  • Mainstreaming Biodiversity: The mission seeks to embed biodiversity considerations into development-oriented programs of both the public and private sectors. This ensures that biodiversity conservation becomes an integral part of decision-making processes and actions.
  • Education and Awareness: The mission aims to create awareness about the importance of biodiversity and foster curiosity about nature. It seeks to instill a sense of responsibility for safeguarding biodiversity in every child and student.
  • Nature-Based Solutions: The mission emphasizes the utilization of nature-based solutions to address challenges related to climate change, agriculture, and public health. It recognizes the value of ecosystems and biodiversity in providing sustainable solutions.
  • Traditional Knowledge and Community Participation: The mission promotes the integration of traditional knowledge and the active participation of local communities and indigenous groups in biodiversity management. It acknowledges their role in conservation efforts.
  • Sustainable Development Goals Alignment: The mission aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to contribute to poverty alleviation, nutrition and health, and environmental protection.
  • Pending Implementation: Although the mission has received preliminary approval from the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Council, it is still in the proposal stage and yet to be fully implemented.



  • The mainstreaming of biodiversity represents a significant step toward securing a sustainable future. Recognizing the interconnectedness of all life forms and ecosystems, we must redefine our approach to biodiversity management. The proposed National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing provides a roadmap and empowers all citizens to take part in safeguarding our precious natural heritage.


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1 year ago

I guesss number of biosphere reserves in india as recognjsed by MAB are 12 now


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