Business Dialogues on Access and Benefit-sharing compliance in Tamil Nadu

24 Oct, 2019

The Tamil Nadu Biological Diversity Rules were notified in 2017 to implement the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act 2002. The rules provide overall guidance for establishment and operationalisation of Biodiversity Management Committees and stipulate the procedure for access to or collection of biological resources from Tamil Nadu amongst other aspects. The Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board with the support of ABS Partnership project organised business dialogues in October 2019 to inform users of biological resources about the ABS compliance procedure and mandate under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

These one-day business dialogues were held in Madurai, Nagercoil and Chennai on 16th, 22nd and 24th October 2019 respectively. The main objective of these dialogues was to support the companies in Tamil Nadu to comply with the ABS provisions of the Biodiversity Act.

The dialogues focused on the following aspects:

  • Create a better understanding of the ABS provisions
  • Provide guidance application procedure
  • Identify the challenges faced by the users of biological resources
  • Gather specific suggestions from the companies for ease of ABS compliance.
  • Sharing of ABS experience particularly on access application procedures and establishing traceability in the sourcing of biological resources.

The business dialogues started with introductory remarks by the officers from Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board, Tamil Nadu Forest Department. A summary is below:

In Madurai, Mr Bhosale Sachin Tukaram, IFS, District Forest Officer (DFO), Theni Forest Division, talked about the challenges in the implementation of the Biodiversity Act including lack of awareness, the complexity of legal provisions about the scope etc. He welcomed the initiatives by the TNBB to conduct dialogues between industry representatives and regulators would help with the effective implementation of the BD Act.

Participants in the business dialogue held in Madurai on 16 October 2019

(L-R) Mr Bhosale Sachin Tukaram, IFS, Mr P. Muhammed Shabab, IFS, Ms C. Vidhya, IFS addressing the participants in Madurai

At the dialogue held in Nagercoil, Mr S. Anand, IFS, DFO, Kanyakumari Forest Division, spoke about the objectives of the Biodiversity Act and its unique provision of ABS to support conservation, and sustainable use of biological resources could help farmers and primary collector to generate income and support local conservation efforts.

Mr K. Thirumal, IFS, DFO, Tirunelveli Forest Division, briefed about the global efforts for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services gave rise to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Biodiversity Act enacted by Parliament of India fulfil the commitment made under CBD and is a comprehensive legal framework that addresses all aspects of biodiversity and knowledge associated with it. Businesses that depend on biological resources, in particular, have an important in effective implementation of the Act. He urged business representatives to provide inputs and learn all the compliance requirements of ABS.

Mr Prashant M Wadnere, IAS, District Collector, Kanyakumari, spoke about the importance of the Biodiversity Act and its ABS functionality. He also stated that the region’s biological resources were important and that it should be a subject of pride for the people.

Mr Prashant M. Wadnere, IAS, District Collector, Kanniyakumari addressing the participants in Nagercoil held on 22 October 2019

Mr T.V. Manjunatha, IFS, Secretary Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board answered queries from the participants in Nagercoil

On 24th October 2019, at the Business Dialogue held in Chennai, Mr T. V. Manjunatha, IFS, APCCF & Secretary, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board discussed the importance of using biological resources sustainably. He also urged companies to interact with the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board regarding their difficulties with compliance procedures to develop a workable solution.

Technical sessions included an interactive lecture from Dr Suhas Nimbalkar, Consultant, Eitimo Ventures, on the Biodiversity Act, its scope and its compliance. Short quiz and hypothetical cases on ABS to provide in-depth practical understanding provisions of the Act was conducted. Participants presented their business case scenarios to identify whether their businesses operations are covered in the Biodiversity Act. Participants’ questions were also answered during both sessions.

In Chennai, the participants had the opportunity to interact with Dr K.P. Raghuram, Technical Officer (Benefit Sharing), National Biodiversity Authority, to get clarifications on various provisions of the Act.

Participants at business dialogue in Chennai

Mr T.V. Manjunatha, IFS, Secretary Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board addressing the participants in

The participants were also given the opportunity to discuss the challenges they foresee in complying with the Biodiversity Act and propose solutions to address them. Participants were also asked to discuss how they would address the issue of traceability of biological resources. Participants suggested reducing the form-1 application fees Rs.1000 to help small businesses to submit their applications. Currently, the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Rules 2017 is charging 10,000 as form-1 fees. Mr T.V Manjunatha, IFS, Secretary of Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board assured that this matter would be informed to the government and needful action will be taken up.

These business dialogues brought together over 120 business representatives, researchers, legal professionals, representatives of National Biodiversity Authority, State Biodiversity Boards. The participants appreciated the efforts of TNBB’s for providing a platform for this exchange and reaching out to them.

Business dialogues in Madurai and Nagercoil were conducted with the support of Covenant Centre for Development, Madurai.

Details of the workshops:

  • 16th October 2019, Madurai: Companies from the Madurai district. The event was presided over by Ms C. Vidhya, IFS, DFO, Dindigul Forest Division; Mr P. Muhammed Shabab, IFS, DFO, Madurai Forest Division; Mr Bhosale Sachin Tukaram, IFS, DFO, Theni Forest Division; Dr Mariappan, Drug Inspector, Madurai & Theni and Dr Vijaya, Drug Inspector, Dindigul.
  • 22nd October 2019, Nagercoil: Companies from Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts participated in the dialogue. The event presided over by Mr T. V. Manjunatha, IFS, APCCF & Secretary, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board; Mr Prashant M. Wadnere, IAS, District Collector, Kanyakumari; Mr S. Anand, IFS, DFO, Kanyakumari Forest Division; Mr K. Thirumal, IFS, DFO, Tirunelveli Forest Division; Dr Eleza, Drug Inspector, Kanyakumari; Dr J. Mabel Arulmani, Drug Inspector, Tirunelveli and Dr R. Rajaselvi, Drug Inspector, Thoothukudi.
  • 24th October 2019, Chennai: Companies from Chennai participants in the dialogue. The dialogue was presided over by Mr T. V. Manjunatha, IFS, APCCF & Secretary, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Board; Mr Syed Muzammil Abbas, IFS, PCCF & Chief Project Director, Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project; Mr Amit Asthana, IFS, PCCF & Chairman (HoD), Arasu Rubber Corporation, Tamil Nadu and Mr Pitchiah Kumar, State Licensing Authority (Indian Medicine), Chennai.
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