Building Awareness Among Gram Panchayats on Establishing Biodiversity Management Committees and Preparing People’s Biodiversity Register in Maharashtra

28 Dec, 2018

Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) has initiated capacity building activities and support in the documentation of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) for four Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) in Sangameshwar block (Maharashtra) under the scope of ABS Partnership Project.

AERF has selected Devade, Kosumb, Ujgaon and Devale villages because they are FairWild certificated sites and their BMC formation process has been completed. The objective of this assignment is to strengthen these BMCs and involve them as pilot BMCs towards development of ABS Good Practices.

AERF organised several meetings with BMCs and Gram Panchayat members to create awareness about the Biodiversity Act 2002, the role of BMC, PBR process and allied activities. All four BMCs were enthusiastic and committed for successful implementation of the PBR. AERF conducted two training and capacity building sessions per village. They also initiated the process of documentation of PBR with the support of local communities. The workshop was organised to promote these activities in other villages.

Mr. Dharma Lobhi addressing the gathering

Mr Gunwant, AERF explaining the process followed for preparation PBR

BMC members and Gram Panchayat members of nearly 28 villages in Sangameshwar block were invited for this workshop which had the following objectives:

  • To familiarise the BMC members, Gram Panchyat members and villagers in general about the Biological Diversity Act and Role of BMCs in the implementation of this Act
  • To discuss the process of PBR preparation adopted in four villages and encourage other villages to adopt it

Workshop was attended by BMC members, Gram Panchayat members, Gramsevak and locals. AERF also invited local experts involved in biodiversity conservation and sustainable harvesting. Mr. Dharma Lobhi an agrobiodiversity expert from Thakar indigenous community, Alibaug and Mr. Kundalik Kondawale, from Mahadev Koli indigenous community, Bhimashankar participated in the workshop and shared their experiences .

Dr. Archana Godbole, Director of AERF and Mr. Gunwant Mahajan welcomed all participants. Dr Godbole briefed the participants about the Biodiversity Act, formation of BMCs, nature and functions of BMCs at village level, PBR activity and the potential of biodiversity-based livelihood sources on local level. Mr. Mahajan explained the process of PBR preparation and capacity building sessions and key findings.

Chairpersons of the BMCs from the four villages, representatives of gram panchayats and self-help groups expressed that they found the process of documentation of biodiversity through PBR very valuable. They also highlighted methodology adopted in the development of a village resource mapping with AERF team and mentioned that it was an eye-opening experience for them. They stated that they now saw their village and biodiversity from a new perspective.

Mr. Dharma Lobhi expressed his thoughts on the importance of forests for indigenous people and role of agrobiodiversity in healthy diet. Mr. Kundlik Kondhvale explained the situation of bees and their importance in pollination. He shared his experiences of sateri bees and their friendly behaviour for bee keeping. Since these topics were very native, participants had a detailed discussion with experts on it. AERF team members Mr Omkar Pai, Mr Akash Patil and Mr Sanjay Pashte also shared their experiences with the PBR process and how it had increased their understanding about these villages and its biodiversity.

Poster: Process explaining process of PBR and Awareness about ABS mechanism

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