India to sign Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity sharing

The union cabinet today approved the signing of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which would open India's rich biodiversity to the world, while helping to stem the menace of biopiracy.

The Nagoya Protocol would also contribute to the two objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) relating to conservation and sustainable use of bio resources.

Benefits accruing from utilisation of genetic resources would act as incentive for biodiversity-rich countries and their local communities to conserve and sustainable use their biodiversity.

India would be hosting the next conference of parties (CoP) to the CBD in October 2011. This will give India an opportunity to consolidate, scale up and showcase its strengths and initiatives on biodiversity before the world. As the incoming chair of CoP, India would be involved in setting up the global agenda on biodiversity for the next few years.

The ABS Protocol is open for signature from 2 February 2011 to 1 February 2012. So far, six countries, including three megadiverse countries, namely Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, have signed the Protocol. As the incoming president of CoP-11, it is expected that India would be one of the early signatories to the ABS Protocol.

India is one of the identified megadiverse countries rich in biodiversity. With only 2.4 per cent of the earth's land area, India accounts for 7-8 per cent of the recorded species of the world.