India to host UN conference on bio-diversity next year

Hyderabad has been chosen as the venue to host the conference.

Hyderabad: Hyderabad will play host to a major conference of the United Nations on bio-diversity from October 1-19 next year, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh
said today.

"Hyderabad has been chosen as the venue, though New Delhi was also in contention, to host the 11th conference of parties to the UN Convention on bio-diversity. Its a great honour that India is hosting the conference," Ramesh said here.

The minister met AP Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to discuss preparations for the conference which will discuss issues related to bio-diversity and bio-safety.

Talking to reporters later, Ramesh said prime ministers of some countries and environment ministers from 194 countries apart from representatives of international organisations like World Bank and Asian Development Bank would attend the conference.

In all, about 8,000-10,000 participants from 194 countries were expected to take part in the conference that would discuss issues governing use and transportation of hazardous substances, the impact of genetically-modified crops among a host of others, he said.

"For the first time in 60 years, an Indian city will get into international map by hosting such a major conference. We will hopefully have a Hyderabad Agreement or a Hyderabad Protocol or a Hyderabad Declaration at the end of it. Clock for the conference starts ticking today."

He said Hyderabad has been "consciously and deliberately" chosen to host the UN event given the "superior infrastructure facilities" available as compared to New Delhi.

"There is no match-fixing in this. Selection of conference venue was done in a fair and transparent manner as Hyderabad is an important centre for bio-resources. It is not
only culturally-significant but also scientifically important," he said.

The Government of India would spend Rs 87 crore on hosting the conference while a joint co-ordination committee headed by Ramesh and Reddy would oversee all the arrangements.

Asked if the political turmoil in the state, particularly Hyderabad, would affect the conference, the minister said irrespective of politics, everyone should welcome the
conference in India. "I don`t deal with political stability."

Ramesh said the conference would benefit Andhra Pradesh by giving a major impetus for tourism. "There is a large Buddhist circuit in AP which can be promoted. Besides, it will
provide an opportunity for promoting handicrafts and forest-based products by enabling artisans and tribal federations to showcase their products."


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