Biodiversity has always been an intrinsic part of human civilization. In India, the Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ is the essence of Indian culture and philosophy of life. Literally translated, it means, ‘the Earth is family’. Biodiversity is more than a mere list of species; it underpins ecosystem services and ecosystem functioning. The session began with theme setting by Mr Siddharth Edake followed by the release of six policy briefs, focusing on enhancing carbon sink through forestry in India. The keynote speaker Ms Aslaug Marie emphasized the importance of biodiversity, agro-biodiversity, and green revolution. She remarked that losing biodiversity means losing options for future. The welcome address was delivered by Dr V B Mathur, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority, Government of India. Ms Amy Fraenkel focused on how the conservation of migratory wildlife can help in protecting our biodiversity and reducing the risk of emergence and spread of zoonosis. Dr Midori Paxton stated that it is about time for us to realize the importance of nature in making green choices for a resilient post-pandemic economy. Dr Theresa Mundita Lim focused on increasing investment in biodiversity and wildlife protection in order to prevent future pandemics and the need to look for nature-based solutions as a response for ASEAN countries. Mr Basile van Havre discussed how efforts should be made to improve the relationship between human and nature in a post-pandemic world by mainstreaming biodiversity in policies and programmes of the government as this relationship will result in more growth and better economy. Dr J V Sharma highlighted the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services on the overall economy, globally and state-wise. He stated that the economic evaluation of ecosystem services is important in the policy-planning process. He also emphasized the need for biodiversity conservation through the involvement of youth. Mrs B V Umadevi pointed out the immediate steps taken by the Government of India in relation to health schemes, with a focus on mapping and halting emergent zoonotic diseases. She flagged that the key challenges that must be overcome include lack of coordination and inadequate legal framework for the success of the mission.

Plenary Session 4: Role of Biodiversity Conservation in a Green and Resilient Post-pandemic Economy
Chair: Dr Vinod Mathur, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority
Keynote Address:
– Ms Åslaug Marie Haga, Former Norwegian Minister and Diplomat, Associate VicePresident, External Relations and Governance Department, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Norway
Panellists:
– Ms Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary, Convention on Migratory Species, Bonn
– Dr Midori Paxton, Head- Ecosystems and Biodiversity, United Nations Development Programme
– Dr Theresa Mundita Lim, Executive Director, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
– Mr Basile van Havre, Co-Chair, Convention on Biological Diversity (via video)
– Dr J V Sharma, Director, Land Resources Division, TERI
– Ms B V Umadevi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India
To know more about WSDS 2021, visit: https://wsds.teriin.org/
#WSDS2021​ #Act4Earth #SustainableDevelopment

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