07 Mar, 2020
People’s Biodiversity Registers contain comprehensive information on the availability of local biological resources, associated traditional knowledge associated and its medicinal and other uses. Preparation of PBRs is mandated under Section 41(1) of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 read with rule 22(6) of the Biological Diversity Rules (2004). PBR will support planning the preservation of habitats, conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, including landraces, folk varieties, cultivars and domesticated stocks and breeds of animals, microorganisms and documentation of knowledge relating to it. The National Biodiversity Authority has prescribed formats for the PBRs, which includes agro-biodiversity, wild, domesticated and urban biodiversity. The Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project supported the documentation of PBRs in 12 pilot BMCs in Tamil Nadu. In addition to prescribed formats, the project laid particular emphasis on the collection of information on the trade of biological resources in the areas falling with the territorial jurisdiction of BMCs that includes – primary collectors, traders, aggregators of medicinal plants and NTFPs, quantities of biological resources traded, companies that procure them and its uses, seasonality, locations of collection etc. This information is essential in facilitating ABS agreements and also allows BMCs to identify the appropriate individual/community as the benefit claimer for sharing benefits accrued from the utilisation of biological resources and associated knowledge, as mandated under the Biodiversity Act.
The project partnered with Covenant Centre for Development to document PBRs in 12 block-level BMCs in Tamil Nadu. CCD in consultation with members of BMCs, local people, District Forest Officers (DFOs), Range Forest Officers, Block Development Officers etc. undertook field survey, interview with traditional knowledge holders, farmers, other district officials from the Forest, Animal Husbandry and Agriculture Departments during October 2019 to March 2020 to record data for the PBRs. This information was then collated and compiled into the PBRs for each block.
PBR Validation meetings held in 10 blocks upon completion of PBR documentation. On average, around 60 participants, including local farmers, shepherds, fisherfolks, subject experts and government officials, participated in each meeting. This meeting also served as an opportunity to create awareness on the importance of documentation of PBRs and updating it periodically.
The meetings began with introductory speeches from the invited dignitaries, BMC Chairperson. They talked about the objective of the Biodiversity Act and encouraged the participants to provide their feedback on the PBRs. Mr John Britto from CCD gave an overview of the biodiversity of the block, the roles of the BMC in implementing the provisions of the Act at the local level. He also outlined the process adopted for collecting information for the PBR and the validation process.
Following the inaugural session, the participants were grouped based on their expertise- i. Agriculture; ii. Animal Husbandry & Native Healers and iii. Medicinal Plant Gatherers. Line department officials also joined the groups based on their respective expertise. Each group, accompanied by a technical expert from CCD who lead PBR documentation, read out the information to their group members. Feedback and inputs from the group members were noted and incorporated in the PBR. Besides information on biological resources, the group members were also encouraged to provide information on associated common knowledge of the biological resources and supplementary information such as its present and past status, varieties and markets of these resources.
After validating all information within the PBR, participants were asked to give their feedback on the overall documentation and validation process.
In the concluding session, the BMC Chairperson thanked participants for their contribution to the validation process and invited to participate in activities of BMC and emphasised the need for the continuous updating of their PBRs, which will help in the conservation of their local biodiversity.
In the ensuing BMC meeting, members discussed the outcome of the PBR Validation meeting. Minutes and resolutions were drawn out. A copy of the PBR and the PBR Validation Certificate from each block were then submitted to the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board for review and presented to BMCs for their records.
Details of the PBR Validation Meetings -
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