The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 arose from India’s endeavour to realise the goals expressed in the 1992 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which affirms nations’ sovereign rights to exploit their own biological resources.
The legislation, which was passed in 2002, intends to conserve biological resources, manage their sustainable use, and enable fair and equitable sharing of benefits emerging from the use and understanding of biological resources with local populations.
The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was introduced in Parliament. The modifications aim to decriminalise some aspects and encourage greater foreign investment in the biological resource chain, including research, patenting, and commercialization, without jeopardising national interests.
Features of the Act
The following actions are prohibited under the Act unless they have been approved in advance by the National Biodiversity Authority:
- Any individual or organisation (whether or not headquartered in India) accessing any biological resource occurring in India for study or commercial purposes.
- The dissemination of the findings of any research linked to biological resources occurring in or obtained from India.
- The assertion of any intellectual property rights on any innovation based on research conducted on biological resources received from India.
- The statute called for a three-tiered framework to govern access to biological resources:
- The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
- The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)
- The Act provides these authorities with specific money and a separate budget to carry out any research project involving the country’s biological natural resources.
- It should monitor any use of biological resources and their sustainable usage, as well as exercise control over financial investments and their return, and dispose of those capitals in the proper manner.
- The Central Government, in cooperation with the NBA, is required by this legislation to alert threatened species and ban or control their collection, restoration, and conservation. Establish institutes to serve as repository for various types of biological resources.
- The statute defines all offences as cognizable and non-bailable.
- Any concerns connected to the National Biodiversity Authority’s or a State Biodiversity Board’s determination of benefit sharing or order issued under this Act shall be brought before the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
- The activity process supported by National Policy recognises the lack of a comprehensive approach to dealing with biodiversity preservation and security. It might be stated that a substantial chunk of present legislation is linked to the “use or misuse” of biological resources “as opposed to their preservation.”
- According to the provisions of this Act, certain people, for example, non-resident Indians, non-residents, organisations not registered in India, and organisations with non-Indian investments in their share capital, would not be permitted to carry out any biodiversity-related activities, for example, obtaining any natural resources occurring in India or information related thereto for research, bio-survey, or bio-use, without the approval of the National Biodiversity Authority.
- Despite the fact that the rules mention benefit-sharing, they focus solely on ‘ensuring benefits’ and are completely quiet on’sharing.’ This can be legally challenged because there has been no proof available throughout the whole history of the application of this Act investigating whether the benefits collected have ever been distributed to the benefit claimants, which include neighbourhood networks.
- This statute does not pay enough consideration to conservation; rather, it focuses on preventing profit-sharing from the commercial use of organic resources. The evidence show that the purpose of enacting this act was to prevent industrialised nations from engaging in bio-piracy. However, one must not neglect another important goal of this legislation, which is to safeguard biodiversity.
- During usage, the translation of the Guidelines indicated in the legislation has proven extremely harmful. This has resulted in a tremendous number of cases coming under the constant scrutiny of the courts, notably the National Green Tribunal.
- Given that this record belongs into the category of a lawful instrument and should be solid, the usage of the phrases ‘guidelines’ and regulations’ in the title creates a perplexing order. By referring to the points as suggestions rather than regulations, its latent power is diminished.
- People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR): The PBR should strive to chronicle folk knowledge about biodiversity resource status, uses, history, continuing changes, and causes driving changes, as well as people’s perspectives of how these resources should be maintained. PBRs can be used to protect farmers’ or communities’ rights to traditional knowledge about a particular cultivar.
- Effective Forest Rights Act (FRA) Implementation: The government must make an effort to create confidence between its agencies in the region and the people who rely on these woods by treating them as equal citizens with the rest of the country. The FRA’s flaws have already been recognised; all that remains is for it to be amended.
- International Treaty Integration: The implementation of the Nagoya Protocol cannot function in isolation and must therefore be coordinated with other international conventions. As a result, the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) must be integrated while taking into account the legislative, administrative, and regulatory measures that cross each other’s paths.
How to structure
- Give an intro about Biodiversity Act 2002
- Explain the features
- Critically analyse- the positive changes it made and where it faltered
- Suggest way forward and conclude