Initiative for Capacity Building of BMCs: Exposure-Workshop at National Conference

27 May, 2019

Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of biological resources is seen as one of the most important objectives of Biodiversity Act, 2002. Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs), Industries, Researchers and the Forest department are important stakeholders in the value chain of bio-resource trade. Keeping this in mind, a one-day workshop-cum-exposure event on the Biodiversity Act, 2002 and Access and Benefit Sharing and capacity development of the stakeholders was organised. The initiative was taken for the capacity building of BMCs at local level with Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board and Forest department. The activities were organised on 26-27 May at the national conference on “The Himalayas: at the Cross roads of Environment and Development”, by the HNB Grahwal University BGR campus at Pauri.

The main idea of the workshop was to bring already existing BMCs to a forum and initiate an interaction amongst them and the sector experts on biodiversity conservation vis-à-vis development of knowledge base. The workshop was conducted with the following objectives:

  • To introduce Biodiversity Act 2002 to the stakeholders;
  • To understand the status of requirement of BMCs;
  • To know the scope of value addition of bio-resources in the region for livelihoods improvement;
  • To develop linkages of BMCs for further development;

The first session of the workshop initiated a discussion with sector experts on biodiversity conservation. Dr Pradeep Mehta (GIZ) welcomed the participants and spoke about the significance of biodiversity and its conservation. In the welcome address, Dr Vinod Bhatt said that the workshop aimed to empower and capacitate the system of biodiversity conservation at the grassroot level. Prof. A.K. Dobariyal, the special guest, said that it was important to understand the provisions of the Biodiversity Act, 2002 and ensure biodiversity conservation at grassroot level through BMCs.

The second session focused on trade of bio-resources, community-based bio-trade sector, the role of BMCs, process of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) documentation and trade mechanism. The participants were introduced to the concept of PBR, its importance and role in getting ABS benefits to the community. A session introducing the Biodiversity Act and BMCs was also conducted. It was based on the process of forming BMCs, its duties and responsibilities. The session on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) focused on the importance of BMCs for implementing the ABS mechanism and maximising benefits to communities. Dr Bhatt also emphasised on synergies between village level institutions for effective BMCs and reliable PBRs. The format of documentation prepared by State Biodiversity Board which detailed the PBR preparation in the pilot villages.

An open house session focused on various issues related to BMCs, Van Panchayat, role of BMCs in conservation and process of PBR formation at the village level. Issues related to wild animal conflict and crop destruction, climate change and depletion of natural resources were also discussed.

Some key takeaways and discussions from the workshop included:

  • Awareness and communication at BMC/farm level. Local level trainings of BMCs for biodiversity conservation and benefit sharing, requirements from Biodiversity Board, Forest department.
  • Information dissemination on forming BMCs and documenting PBR.
  • Conservation policy of wild collected and cultivated resources, and role of Biodiversity Act, 2002.
  • Communication amongst the Forest department, Technical Support Groups (TSGs) and Biodiversity Board for different roles and responsibilities such and BMC formation, PBR documentation and capacity development.

A vote of thanks was given by Dr Vinod Bhatt on behalf of Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board. He expressed his satisfaction with the workshop and thanked all the stakeholders from Forest department, Garhwal University, TSGs, Experts and BMCs of the district. He also thanked the GIZ team from Dehradun for organising the workshop.

BMC’s from Pauri district, officials from the Forest department, Technical Support Groups and other sector experts participated in the workshop. Mr M.K. Bahukhandi, Sub Divisional Officer of Forest department, Pauri and Prof A.K. Dobariyal of the University Campus were the special guests for the event along with Dr Vinod Bhatt, Dr Semwal and BMC members of the district. Mr Anil Joshi and Dr Pradeep Mehta (Technical Experts, GIZ) moderated the workshop.

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The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project is implemented by National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India (MoEF&CC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH under Indio-German Biodiversity Programme and is commissioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).