Shillong, May 22: The Meghalaya Biodiversity Board today celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity on the theme “Be Part of the Plan” at U Soso Tham Auditorium Shillong. D.P. Wahlang, Chief Secretary attended the programme as  chief guest.

International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) or World Biodiversity Day is observed every year on May 22 to promote biodiversity conservation. The United Nations proclaimed May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity (|DB) to increase understanding and awareness on biodiversity. Since the inception of Meghalaya Biodiversity Board (MBB) in 2012 the State of Meghalaya commemorates IDB every year both at District and State level.

Speaking at the occasion Chief Secretary D.P. Wahlang said Biodiversity is fundamental in sustaining life on earth. It provides air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat. Human population depends on biodiversity for meeting their basic needs such as food, clothing, medicines and building materials. He  also said the United Nations proclaimed May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity (DB) to increase understanding and awareness on biodiversity. The Board celebrates IDB in collaboration with National Biodiversity Authority involving all the District Nodal officers, Biodiversity Management Committees, students from various Schools, Colleges and Universities.

“Meghalaya, which is part of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot, harbours rich and diversified flora and fauna. Varied altitude, topography, status of soil and climatic conditions favour high species richness and support different types of forest. In view of the rich biodiversity and the associated traditional knowledge available in the State vis-a-vis the increasing level of threats to the species and their habitats, the Meghalaya Biodiversity Board along with the Forest Department is expected to play a pivotal role towards achieving the objectives of the Biological Diversity Act and Rules,” he added.

He further said that he is very happy to inform that the arduous task of constituting Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) in all the 6459 Village level Local Bodies and 9 Urban Local Bodies as per the number of villages and urban bodies given in Census of India 2001, 2011 is completed by the Board. The Deputy Commissioners, Block Development Officers and the District Nodal Officers of all the Districts of Meghalaya played a vital role in it. Apart from the constitution of the BMCs; the Board has also prepared the People’s Biodiversity Registers for all the BMCs and the work for upgrading them is going on.

This year’s theme for IDB 2024 “Be part of the Plan”, is a call to action for all stakeholders to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by supporting the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, also referred to as the Biodiversity Plan.

The Board is conducting awareness campaigns in all the Districts of the State as per the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and trying to activate the BMCs to stop deforestation and conserve and protect biodiversity. Many BMCs are activated, for example, Umru BMC got special appreciation from NBA and UNDP for protecting the Amur Falcons. Similarly many other BMCs like Kynton Massar BMC, Moolamylliang BMC, Aruakgre BMC, Umtngam BMC and communities such as Sein Raij Khlo Blai Community Reserve, Chyrmang Community Reserve got State Level Conservation Awards.

Along with the Chief Guest, P. Bakshi. IAS, Commissioner & Secretary, Forest and Environment cum Chairman, MBB. R.S. Gill, PCCF & HoFF and S.M Sahai, IFS, PCCF (Wildlife & Biodiversity) released Posters and Booklets on the Biodiversity of Meghalaya during the occasion and distributed prizes to the winners of the various competitions that were held as part of the celebration.

The Best Biodiversity Management Committee Award (BMC) 2024 was given to Paglapara BMC, Zikzak C&RD Block, South West Garo Hills, Meghalaya and State Level Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable use of Biological Resources award to Jermanai Village, Umling C&RD Block, Ri-Bhoi District, Meghalaya. Award of Appreciation to the DNOs was also presented for their dedication and conservation work done for conservation of biodiversity in the State.