Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
19-November-2010 16:31 IST
Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law –Cebpol at Chennai
India –Norway to Cooperate in Biodiversity
Minister of State for Environment and Forests (I/C) Shri Jairam Ramesh said, “Biodiversity is a subject of great significance to us and working with like minded people, we will be in a stronger position to preserve and protect our bio-diversity.” After signing a Letter of Intent by Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment & Forests, India, and Mr. Erik Solheim, the Norwegian Minister of Environment & Development here today, Shri Ramesh said, “This is significant from the point of view on global warming. We will emerge as world’s second largest coal user within 7-8 years, any technology for carbon capture and sequestration is of great importance to us. The Access and Benefit sharing protocol, finalized at Nagoya recently, demonstrates the seriousness.” The Minister added that India will establish the National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology in Dehradun and we are looking for partnership in the field of study of glaciology from Norway.”

Mr Eric Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development, said, “ This agreement is crucial because the centre is being set up in Chennai after signing of important agreement was achieved on sharing on genetic resources was achieved in Nagoya. The core of the agreement is the company’s work for research and develop new medicines on the basis of genetic resources will have fair distribution of revenues in the world. With this arrangement we should progress scientifically.” Referring to other areas of cooperation, Mr Solheim said, “India and Norway can work for carbon capture, glaciology and at South Pole expeditions.”

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to establish a Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law (CEBPOL) in the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Chennai, which is a statutory autonomous body of the Ministry responsible for implementing the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. The Government of Norway has offered to provide technical and institutional collaboration for the CEBPOL.Norway is the first developed country to have recently enacted a national legislation on ABS. India and Norway can thus learn from each other’s experiences relating to ABS and traditional knowledge. The Norwegian partners for cooperation with NBA would be the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and Fridtj of Nansen Institute. This collaboration is an outcome of the close Indo-Norwegian dialogue under the Joint Working Group on Environment.

The objectives of CEBPOL are to develop professional expertise in the complex and still-evolving policy and legal issues relating to biodiversity, including on access and benefit sharing, inter alia through research, development and training; and to provide advice and expertise to the Government on these matters. The Centre is also expected to contribute to strengthening the implementation of the Biological Diversity Act.

The setting up of this Centre is a very timely initiative taken by the Government, considering that the recently concluded Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, has adopted a Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. The Protocol adopted after intense negotiations sets out rules and procedures for prior informed consent for access to genetic resources for ensuring fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from these resources and associated traditional knowledge. As a mega-diverse country, and as a victim of bio-piracy, India has played an important role in ABS negotiations.