Requests to MoEF for publication of information under s.4 of RTI Act in context of NGO publication/advocacy as National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan of a purportedly participatory technical report funded by $1 million grant and, as per press note dated 05.10.05, rejected by MoEF
04-Oct-2005: Kalpvriksh release of NBSAP technical report in Delhi
The full text of the local (sub-state), state, ecoregional and thematic action plans, as also the sub-thematic reviews, prepared under the NBSAP process1
Comment on FE report: Reinventing the wheel!4
05-Oct-2005: MoEF Press Note: National Bio-diversity Strategy and Action Plan submitted by the NGO Kalpvriksha has been rejected
|Ministry of Environment & Forests has clarified that the Consultant’s report, “National Bio-diversity Strategy and Action Plan” submitted by an NGO – KALPAVRIKSHA has been reviewed by a group of scientists appointed by the Ministry. They have concluded that the report is for the major part scientifically invalid. Hence, the Ministry has rejected the report and has started the process of developing the National Bio-diversity Action Plan, afresh.
KALPAVRIKSHA was paid more than Rs. 3.00 crore as consultancy fees by the Global Environment Facility for preparation of this report. Unfortunately, this international assistance to India has not yielded the expected benefits.
Ministry of Environment & Forests (CS-II Division) New Delhi, Asvina 13, 1927; October 5, 2005
(Release ID :12522)5
07-Oct-2005: Kalpvriksh Press Release
- Why is the MoEF misleading the public regarding the NBSAP? 6
- Comments on MPISG Media Mailing List: Kalpvriksh information/advocacy
10-Oct-2005: Kalpvriksh release
- NBSAP technical report in Pune 7
- Comments on MPISG Media Mailing List: Kalpvriksh, Shekhar Singh & Aravali Biodiversity
15-Oct-2005: Note accompanying request for information under s.4 of RTI Act, 2005
The Biodiversity Discourse: Running to stand still? | Milestones on the path to where we stand | Available Information | Right to Information | some questions about validity in terms of the Biodiversity Act, 2002 | examples of related activities of NBSAP protagonists / associates (Aravali Biodiversity Park - implementation of NBSAP style ideas; and DJB restructuring - replication of NBSAP style processes) | + covering request for information | >> RTI NGO Jansunwayi re DJB (related post) | follow-up request (08-nov-2005)
07 & 10-Nov-2005: MoEF response:
2005/11/07: "...We are not aware of any Press Note dated 05.10.2005 ... Accordingly MoEF website may not include any information on the subject... ...A group of experts was constituted by the Ministry to scrutinize the draft report prepared by the Kalpvriksh and rectify discrepancies and inconsistencies. The report has been duly corrected. The same is going to act as one of the inputs for the draft National Action Plan which is being prepared in the Ministry. The concerned organizations have meanwhile been paid all their dues. We expect that the above satisfies your query." | 2005/11/10: "... this is to inform you that meanwhile we have been able to trace the Press Note dated 05.10.2005. The Press Note is self-explanatory and gives reasons for the decision taken. If you need further information in this regard, please specify the document that is required by you. The same would be examined by the Ministry and action would be taken as per the provisions of the RTI Act".
10-Nov-2005: PMO Press Release: PM Gives away Green Governance Award
...of Bombay Natural History Society, NBSAP partner and MoEF-ENVIS centre allotted land in Asola Forest in 2004.
‘Poverty eradication needs truly sustainable growth processes’ : PM
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has emphasised the need to operationalise sustainable development in concrete development strategies which take into account imperatives of protecting and preserving our environment. He stressed that we cannot protect the environment by perpetuating the poverty of our people.
After giving away the Bombay Natural History Society Green Governance Award, here today, Dr. Singh said that we have to measure upto the challenge of devising growth paths, development options, which can abolish poverty even without reaching the western standards of per capita income. The conservation of nature and protection of our environment is a collective task involving citizens at large, the corporate sector and all other stake-holders in our complex and diverse society. “Our collective strategy, therefore, needs to focus on developing indigenous responses”, the Prime Minister added.
Referring to the ongoing public debate on Tribal Land Rights Bill, the Prime Minister said that the bill seeks to only record the rights of the people that have gone unrecorded to provide them a sense of security and involve them in protecting the natural resource base. “This cannot and will not be done at the cost of our environment”, the Prime Minister assured.
The Prime Minister presented Green Governance Award 2005 to Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing, Tata Chemicals and 8 Mountain Division of Indian Army. Shri A. Raja, Minister for Environment & Forests and Shri B.G.Deshmukh, President of Bombay Natural History Society also addressed the gathering. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion:
“I am truly delighted to have the pleasure of presenting the Green Governance Award instituted by the Bombay Natural History Society. I believe the Green Governance Programme is a very important and much needed advocacy effort in our country. I am very happy to learn that many corporate entities, financial institutes and government agencies are associated with this noble effort to promote biodiversity conservation.
I am also delighted to release the book ‘National Parks and Sanctuaries in Maharashtra’ published by the Bombay Natural History Society. I believe the book provides us a comprehensive overview of management practices in the protected areas of Maharashtra. I hope that this book will be a valuable resource for those charged with managing our protected areas. I hope the Ministry of Environment and Forests will prepare such comprehensive documents for other states of our Union.
The conservation of nature and protection of our environment is a collective task involving citizens at large, the government, the corporate sector and all other stake-holders in our complex and diverse society. I am particularly pleased to learn of the involvement of the corporate sector in this programme because we need much more social involvement of business in our country. Issues of the environment concern us all and, therefore, it is highly important that all these stake-holders should consider themselves involved and engaged in preserving and protecting our natural environment. Today we face a situation where the degradation of our environment of land, water, air essential life support systems of our planet. Their degradation threatens the livelihood of millions and millions of poor farmers who live on the edges of subsistence. Our effort to eradicate poverty cannot acquire its true significance unless we ensure that the growth processes are truly sustainable. We cannot of course protect the environment by perpetuating the poverty of our people. And, therefore, sustainable development has to go beyond merely a buzz word. It has to be operationalised in concrete development strategies which take into account imperatives of preserving and protecting our environment. I congratulate Shri Deshmukh and the Bombay Natural History Society for the efforts they have been making in fulfilment of this vital national objective.
In developing countries we are often called upon to integrate environmental concerns into the processes of development itself. This is now an accepted orthodoxy but, as I said, much work needs to be undertaken to operationalise the concept of sustainable development. Our economic life exerts enormous pressure on the growth process at a time when there is a clamour for jobs and new investment. Developing countries like India, therefore, will have to strive to avoid the development trajectory of the developed industrial economies because these have been far too wasteful and harmful to the environment. We face a complex challenge where we need to constantly engage in trade-offs, including on occasion choosing options that may make our development processes excessively costly. It is important to create enlightened public opinion and promote informed debate on this issue.
I always believed that the western styles of living of the modern consumerist societies of west cannot be copied blindly in our country. Effort to do so will ensure prosperity for few and misery for many. And, therefore, we have a challenge in devising growth paths developing options which can abolish poverty even without reaching the western standards of per capita income. And I, therefore, believe that is a challenge for all development promoters in our country be they our scientists, be they our technologists, be they our captains of industry. And in this context, I am really concerned that India is yet to develop an environmental management paradigm of our own. Very often, Western opinions about environmental crisis dominate and influence the solutions offered. These may not necessarily be apposite to our conditions. Let me recall that traditionally, our society has been less environmentally destructive. Few countries can match our traditional systems of water storage, local forest management, conservation and recycling used resources. But it is also a fact that these traditional sources of wisdom work best when populations are relatively static. When you superimpose upon the system a rapid population growth made possible by a sharp decline in death rate due to advances of medical sciences, the traditional system fail to deliver what they did so valiantly, so effectively under conditions of static population. When I look at our history our culture of re-use is a very valuable protection against waste. It is true that these traditional notions and values are under threat both due to the processes of rapid population growth, rapid urbanisation and modernisation. Our collective strategy, therefore, needs to focus on developing indigenous responses, drawing upon our inherent traditions and using our greatest resource – our people’s innate wisdom.
At the present juncture, we have a massive opportunity for greening our country. Given the fact that 75% of water received is lost in run-off, we have huge opportunities for people – centred water conservation at the local level. In response to this need, our government is proposing a massive People’s Water Conservation Mission. This will be a people’s movement, led by panchayats, using the funds of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to harvest every drop of water that falls. This opportunity for local-level water augmentation has been unprecedented and through this we hope to revive our tradition of harvesting water.
In a similar fashion, replacement of our lost forest cover can be approached through a people-centric movement. For instance, people living in the fringe areas of forests, who are mostly adivasis, face a major problem of securing a sustainable livelihood. A massive programme of greening degraded forests can be undertaken again using the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. These are new and valuable opportunities and to make a success of these opportunities we need the support of all creative elements in our civil society.
The on-going public debate on the Tribal Land Rights Bill, that we propose to introduce in Parliament, is a good example of the kind of discussion we need on how best to manage the dual imperatives of safeguarding people and safeguarding our natural habitat. We have people living in lands which were subsequently declared as forests and sanctuaries. These are very different from the Western concept of an “enclosure”. The role of local populations in managing the environment has been historic. Even today forest fires are put out by forest officials with the help of Adivasi inhabitants; not through helicopters dousing from above. Sadly, many of these very people do not have rights over their land.
I would like to assure conservationists that the Tribal Land Rights Bill will seek only to record the rights of the people that have gone unrecorded. This should give them a sense of security and involve them in protecting the natural resource base. People who live in close proximity to our forest resources must therefore, become their protector. As the environmental historian Ramachandra Guha once said, “the Indian environmental debate cannot be a debate in the cities about what is happening in the countryside.” The effort must be to ensure that people at local levels are involved in the conservation of water, forests and other life-support systems of our planet. This cannot and will not be done at the cost of our environment.
I sincerely hope the Bombay Natural History Society will promote an informed, rational and humane dialogue on what we must do with regard to conservation and environmental and wildlife protection.
It is equally important to focus on sensitising industry, to use new mechanisms to associate businesses as partners in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). I am happy to note that our country is taking a lead in this matter. The captains of our industry need to be sensitised to conservation to a greater extent than is the case right now. Institutions like the Bombay Natural History Society can play a major role in this matter. We will have to seriously think of introducing concepts such as green accounting and due diligence for environmentally–sound lending. Green rating of companies is increasingly a standard practice being followed in some parts of world. As environment consciousness increases, our enterprises should benefit by securing a better green profile for themselves.
The Green Governance Programme is truly an inspiring movement and I applaud people from various walks of life, who have displayed commitment to the protection of our environment. It is very heart-warming to see the models demonstrated by today’s awardees. Whether it is whale-shark conservation by Tata Chemicals Ltd, or mangrove conservation by Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Ltd or even flora conservation by the 8 Mountain Division of our Army, these examples provide a new path that others must also be happy to tread. I once again compliment the three awardees who have come forward to protect the flora, fauna and habitat of our country.
I conclude by congratulating today’s awardees. I sincerely hope that their efforts inspire all sections of society to contribute in full measure to this endeavour. If two leading corporate entities and a Division of the Indian Army can display such fine conservationist spirit, I think our nation’s collective future is indeed bright.”
(Release ID :13196)8
13 & 14-Nov-2005: NGOs/CEJI Press Release about their protest against MoEF
(Public Hearing before a panel including Shekhar Singh, NBSAP Steering Committee member and CEC special invitee for NGO petition for Aravali Biodiversity Park, and theatrical dharna by about 200 demanding scrapping of EIA reform (on which public comments were invited on 15.09.05) and draft NEP (on which public comments were invited in 2004), etc, and intending to meet PM)
16-Nov-2005: MoEF Press Release in response9 ...disclosing dates of consultations with representative groups on EIA and NEP and claiming due consideration of all comments received
Draft National Environment Policy is in the process of submission to the Cabinet – M/o Environment & Forest - Press Note
The Ministry of Environment and Forests was mandated by a Cabinet decision to prepare the EIA Notification after the Govindarajan Committee set up by the Central Government recommended revamping regulatory approval procedures of the Government at all levels. In pursuit of this mandate, the Ministry of Environment and Forests availed technical assistance from the Word Bank with the approval of the Department of Economic Affairs. The World Bank made available the services of a team of qualified international and national consultants in response to the request of the Government of India. The report of the consultants was discussed with the Central Government Ministries on November 4, 2004 and November 10, 2004, State Governments on September 8, 2004 and November 2, 2004 Industry Associations on November 8, 2004 and November 22, 2004 and NGOs on November 29, 2004. Following these discussions, the draft Notification was prepared after considering all the suggestions received. The draft Notification has been placed on the website of the Ministry since September 15, 2005 for suggestions from anyone within a period of 60 days. A number of responses have been received which will be duly examined before the Notification is finalized. Further consultations were held with organisations who requested such consultations.
The draft National Environment Policy was placed on the Ministry’s Website on August 16, 2004. The draft was prepared in house with some technical inputs from TERI. Wide-ranging consultations were held with the Central Government Ministries on November 5, 2004, State Governments on September 8, 2004 and November 3, 2004 Industry Associations on November 24, 2004 and NGOs on November 30, 2004. The document was also circulated among the Members of Parliament and discussed in the Standing Committee of MPs. More than 500 responses have been received from the members of the public and all have been duly considered. On the basis of these consultations, a revised draft was prepared and is in the process of submission to the Cabinet.
Presentations on both documents have been made by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the Hon’ble Prime Minister.
On November 14, 2005, a number of environmental activists staged a dharna in the premises of the Ministry. They were invited to submit, if they wished, a memorandum to the Secretary, which they declined.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has been completely transparent in the process of development of these two documents, and has received many constructive suggestions and comments, all of which have been examined and considered.
18-Nov-2005: media advocacy of NGO NBSAP11 (Opinion article in Hindustan Times)
19-Nov-2005: e-mail to editor about media advocacy of Aravali Biodiversity Park
(report in tabloid News-of-the-Week about plans of movement with Medha Patkar)12
21-Nov-2005: media advocacy of RTI (s.6)
(Full page HT-Research feature, including guest column by Smt Aruna Roy)
21-Nov-2005: RTI request to MoEF re NBSAP and also NEP and EIA
- 1. Final Technical Report Of The National Biodiversity Strategy And Action Plan (Nbsap)
Online Version (Retrived 4th August, 2012)
- 2. Rebel thorn in green card cuts Delhi
The Centre spent UN funds on a four-year study of how to protect the country’s flora and fauna. It now apparently wants to junk the report because it contains some “embarrassing” suggestions.
For instance, the report says a “dialogue needs to be started with militant groups in the Northeast and Naxalite groups in central India” to save the biodiversity of these regions.
The Telegraph, New Delhi, 5th October 2005 (Retrived 4th August, 2012)
- 3. Action plan on biodiversity runs into rough weather
The ambitious National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP), commissioned by the environment ministry, has run into rough weather. In 2000, the environment ministry had asked an NGO, Kalpavriksh, to act as a technical implementing agency. The public sector Biotech Consortium India was appointed the administrative agency for the NBSAP. The NBSAP project is funded jointly by UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF) and is a move towards fulfilling the mandate of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which says that every member country should have such a national strategic action plan by 2006.
However, last year difference of views on the approach to NBSAP between Kalpavriksh and the ministry surfaced. The UNDP-GEF funds for the programme which was being routed through the ministry was suspended at that time. Despite all odds, Kalpavriksh could submit its report to the government, said Asish Kothari, a convenor of Kalpavriksh, while briefing the media here recently.
Financial Express, 4th October, 2005 (Retrived 4th August, 2012)
- 4. New Delhi, Oct 5: The ambitious National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP), commissioned by the environment ministry, has run into rough weather. In 2000, the environment ministry had asked an NGO, Kalpavriksh, to act as a technical implementing agency. The public sector Biotech Consortium India was appointed the administrative agency for the NBSAP. The NBSAP project is funded jointly by UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF) and is a move towards fulfilling the mandate of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which says that every member country should have such a national strategic action plan by 2006.
Financial Express, Thursday, Oct 06, 2005 (Retrived 12th August, 2012)
- 5. Source: Press Information Bureau, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=12522
- 6. Source: OWSA, http://www.owsa.in/kalpavriksh/pr1/pr_nbsap_lettomoef last accessed October, 2005
- 7. Source: OWSA, http://www.owsa.in/kalpavriksh/pr1/prnbsap retrieved October, 2005
- 8. Source: Press Information Bureau, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=13196 retrived October, 2005
- 9. Source: Press Information Bureau, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=13328 retrieved October, 2005
- 10. Source: Environment Support Group, http://www.esgindia.org/campaigns/envt.decision.making/moefchalo.pr14112005.rtf retrieved October, 2005
- 11. Source: Hindustan Times, http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1549135,00120002.htm retrieved October, 2005
- 12. Comment on MPISG Media Maling List:
With refer to our telecon about the ridge protection / VK malls story in NOW (text at end of message) the following are a few points of information in the context of a PIL pending in Delhi High Court that was filed in December 2003 (just before the auction of VK Malls) to, among other things, challenge (on grounds of Master Plan / Delhi Development Act and CGWA notification / Environment Protection Act and judgment of 16.09.2002 against identically illegal Sultangarhi scheme) a number of projects in the area. Of 7 respondents, DDA has filed this year two counter-affidavits answering the petition and MCD has filed one to curiously claim no role in the area.