Securing biodiversity, securing our future: A national mission on biodiversity and human well-being for India
Highly populated tropical countries face tremendous pressures in reconciling the needs for improved economic security and the protection of declining biodiversity. India is no exception and its biodiversity is under severe pressure due to complex interactions among land use change, other human economic activities, and climate change. Preservation and restoration of biodiversity is perhaps the cheapest and least risky way to mitigate the impacts of threats such as climate change, diminishing food and nutritional security, declining economy, absence of affordable healthcare, rising zoonotic diseases and lack of capacity to address these issues. Here we describe a framework for biodiversity conservation – the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well-Being (NMBHWB) for India – which integrates biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change, agriculture, health, bio-economy and capacity building in the realm of biodiversity science. We provide an overview of the seven Programs of the Mission which make it interdisciplinary, integrative, and comprehensive in its approach. The Mission explicitly links research with policy-making and implementation for effective management of biodiversity with sustainable development. With its emphasis on convergence and synergies among various goals, themes and project sites, the Mission will further develop new models for stakeholder consultations and co-production of knowledge. We posit that the NMBHWB will enable India to realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Targets while advancing India's commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change and other international environmental conventions and treaties.