Building Awareness Among Gram Panchayats on Biodiversity Management Committees and People’s Biodiversity Register

01 Mar, 2019

The second workshop for Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) members and the local community was organised for building awareness among the Gram Panchayats on establishment of BMCs, and preparation of People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBR) under the scope of Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project. This workshop was attended by 127 participants from 42 villages in Sangameshwar block of Ratnagiri district.

The key objectives of this workshop were:

  • BMC members sharing their experience of PBR development in four villages- Ujgaon, Deole, Devade, Kosumb
  • Launch of village posters displaying the biodiversity of their respective villages, resource maps and process of PBR preparation
  • Importance of establishing a BMC and preparation of PBR
  • Guidance from Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board (MSSB) on the role and functioning of BMCs and potential support

Dr. Archana Godbole introduced the meeting and provided insights on the process followed and facilitation provided by the Applied Environmental Research Foundation team to four Gram Panchayats in Sangameshwar block for PBR preparation. She reiterated the fact that PBR could be effective for monitoring the use of bio-resources and benefits arising out of it, to the local people who have been guarding and protecting biodiversity for generations. She also mentioned that it is not important to just publicise the biodiversity, but also to make wise use of it for the benefits of community and its provider.

Dr Vilas Bardekar, Chairman, MSBB expressed his gratitude for the positive response from communities, and their deep interest in the process of preparing PBR. He complimented members of four BMCs over the posters developed by them. He also shared examples of successful PBRs prepared elsewhere in Maharashtra. He expressed support from MSBB for strengthening of BMCs and effective implementation of the Biodiversity (BD) Act and ABS guidelines.

Women representatives of four BMCs shared their experiences of PBR development. Mrs Kala, BMC member, Ujgaon said that “The process of PBR preparation has introduced me to my own village with altogether a new perspective. The way I look at my village now is very different, I could relate more to the biodiversity of my village”.

Dr. Aeshita Mukherjee expressed her appreciation for overwhelming response of the local people for PBR preparation. She spoke about the importance of BD Act and it’s role in preserving the rights of local communities over their bio-resources, and associated traditional knowledge.

Mr. Vijay Surve, DFO, Chiplun discussed the importance of PBR and training for the conservation of biodiversity in non-protected landscape. He emphasised that the BD Act could be used to achieve long-term protection of traditions, like sacred groves, and how provisions of the act could be used effectively for safeguarding valuable biodiversity. The programme ended with a vote of thanks by Mr. Jayant Sarnaik, Joint Director, AERF.