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Traditional food systems evolved over a period time has proved to be healthier, more balanced and nutritious: Vice President

New Delhi: The International Day for Biodiversity (IDB) 2019 was celebrated all over the country today by different States and various organizations. The national level celebrations of the day were held at the Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai with enthusiastic participation of various stakeholders. Organized by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India in coordination with the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and with the cooperation of the Government of Tamil Nadu, the event was graced by the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu as the Chief Guest.

The Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu in his Presidential address highlighted that conservation of nature and natural resources is an innate aspect of the Indian psyche and faith, reflected in religious practices, folklore, art and culture permeating every aspect of the daily lives of people. Emphasizing the importance of biodiversity for the survival of human race, he referred to the well-considered responses by the country to the changing paradigms relating to biodiversity, inter alia through the development of appropriate policies and legislation such as the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and the achievements made thereof.

Referring to the theme of IDB 2019, the Vice President stated that in India, the traditional food systems evolved over a period time has proved to be healthier, more balanced and nutritious. He brought to the attention of the audience the overwhelming message from a recently released UN Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that nature is in trouble because of human actions. He urged everyone to contribute to conservation of biodiversity, which is critical for achieving many Sustainable Development Goals also.

The theme of IDB this year, Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health, focuses on biodiversity as the foundation for food and health, and aims to leverage knowledge and spread awareness of the dependency of our food systems, nutrition and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

During the event, the Vice President released the documents on “Implementation of India’s National Biodiversity Action Plan: An Overview” 2019, and ‘Biodiversity Finance Plan ‘Working Document, and some other communication material. Call for India Biodiversity Awards 2020, fifth in the series, was also launched through the release of a brochure and poster. A thematic exhibition was also organised at the venue with the participation of over 30 institutions. Interesting exhibits, posters, and other knowledge products highlighting the role of biodiversity for food and health were depicted at the exhibition. The Vice President walked through the exhibition and appreciated the exhibits.

The event also had the gracious presence of Shri Anil Kumar Jain, Additional Secretary MoEFCC and Chairman, NBA; Shri Hans Raj Verma, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu; and Shri ShambhuKallolikar, Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. Senior officers from the MoEFCC, NBA, Government of Tamil Nadu and Tamil Nadu State Biodiversity Board, representatives from other States, Officers and Scientists fromCentral and State Government institutions, Civil Society Organizations, academic institutes, students, local communities, women’s development committees, and biodiversity enthusiasts also attended the event.

In India, a recognized mega diverse country rich in biodiversity, nearly 300 million people are dependent on biodiversity for sustenance and livelihoods.  Across India, communities, governments and civil society organisations are demonstrating ways to conserve biodiversity, sustain livelihoods, and contribute to sustainable development.Celebration of the IDB provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of and threats to biodiversity, while highlighting its contributions to sustainable development.

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