Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has asserted that the country can preserve its rich biodiversity while ensuring the development.
“It is a myth that ecological conservation and development can not coexist. It is not correct to see environment and development as being two ends of a spectrum, where one must be compromised in order to enhance the other,” Javadekar said, speaking at an International Biodiversity Day event held in Mumbai last evening.
Concerns of livelihood should be addressed equally while framing policies for environmental protection, he said.
The Centre will formulate a policy for conservation of the rich biodiversity of Western Ghats while ensuring that the livelihood of five crore people residing in the region, spread across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, is not adversely affected, he said.
“India is one of the recognised mega-diverse countries of the world, harbouring nearly 8 per cent of recorded species and representing four biodiversity hotspots,” he said.
The minister conceded that ‘jan andolan’ (peoples’ movements) were necessary for biodiversity conservation, and added that many success stories of the environment conservation had not been highlighted by the mainstream media.
Prof R Sukumar of the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, in his key-note address called for using ecology and sociology as the basis for conservation in India. He also advocated a “landscape approach” to ecological conservation instead of national parks protected area approach.