Hyderabad: In a unique initiative to recognise outstanding work in biodiversity conservation at the grass roots level, the Union Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly presented awards to models of biodiversity governance from across the country.
The awards were presented to the representatives of the winners at a ceremony held on the sidelines of the ongoing UN convention on biological diversity here last night.
A press release from the UNDP quoted Union Environment Minister Jayanti Natarajan, as saying "Conserving biodiversity and harnessing it on a sustainable basis is critical for realising development goals. Biodiversity governance in India needs to enable this on a sustained and equitable basis."
Welcoming the support of UNDP as a partner, the minister announced that the India Biodiversity Awards will now be an annual feature, to mark International Biodiversity Day on May 22 each year.
The winners of the awards were: Pir Jahania Jungle Suraksha Samiti from Odisha in the community stewardship category, Shankarpur Village Gram Panchayat from Maharashtra in the category of decentralised management, Van Utthan Sansthan from Rajasthan in the category of co-management and Periyar Tiger Reserve in the protected areas category.
The awards aim to address the relationship between biodiversity loss, livelihood challenges of local communities and sustainable development, the UNDP release said.
The India Biodiversity Awards received 150 nominations from across the country based on a call for nominations earlier this year. A six-member jury for the awards was headed by eminent agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan.