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United Nations University ,Tokyo, Japan acknowledged the operation of a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE-Tirupati) on ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ under the Chairmanship of Prof.R.Ramamurthi. The Foundation is being launched at Orion Hall of Hotel Pai Viceroy on Oct 1st 2015 at 7.30 pm.

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Land use pattern and Biodiversity 

In any developmental process the primary focus is on the availability of land no matter  what areas we may be looking into-mountains, plains or coastal zone. India is a country of rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. We look at Natural resources in a different perspective compared to western world laying great emphasis on Traditional knowledge and judicious use of bio resources. While the concept of Environment, its importance in the livelihoods and progress of human society has gone into the Indian system, the concept of Biodiversity which is an integral part of Environment has not yet been imbibed into the Indian society as an entity which deserves special focus. It is common knowledge that ‘Development’ is linked to ‘Degradation’. It did happen that way when caution and location planning were not of high priority while launching huge projects. The situation is changed now and several factors of location specific importance are taken into consideration while developing projects involving land, forest areas and possible impact on local communities and clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests is mandatory. Even while making allotment to SEZ as far as possible waste lands, derelict lands and saline lands are recommended to save agricultural land and forests.       

Of the most progressive discussions held under multi-lateral processes in relation to environment, land and land use changes occupy the most prominent place. Whether it is dealing with reducing biodiversity loss or dealing with climate change adaptation and mitigation and reducing land degradation, land use and land use change form critical to success and failures of local action to secure productive landscapes, livelihoods and dealing with effective governance.

Land tenure, ownership and rights over land are key to ensuring participatory development processes in India. In the absence of clarity on these at the levels of policy and action, most of our investments in development become questionable.
Securing biodiversity at local level and responding to climate variability due to development action need specific focus on land use issues. Currently the most important issues with regard to national and local actions on land use and land use change relate to the following key components:
1. Land use is critical to securing livelihoods. However, tenurial
issues either undermine or overshadow effective management of land and
its use
.2. The role of land in dealing with sustainable development needs to
be appropriately understood both in scale and magnitude.
3. Local policy making and governance of natural resources are the key elements to ensure land use issues are appropriately addressed.

4. Land use policies are multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional and should be viewed in terms of its dynamics of change There are many examples of land being used with core biodiversity is protected. Mining activity is Odisha is carefully monitored to oversee the gene rich forest biodiversity is not affected. Rigorous scrutiny is practiced in Gahirmatha and Bitterakannika of coastal Odisha. Western Ghats are similarly protected from shadows of development. Another classical example is the east coast island of Sriharikota where ISRO runs a rocket launching station. The whole island is under the control of ISRO.A very small part of the island is made use for ISRO activities and most of the island forest ecosystem is pristine. I visited the island in 1956 when there was no road connection and a few tribal communities were living on the island, Even now (2015) the island biodiversity is well protected in spite of rocket launching activities. This is a great example of coexistence of development and environmental integrity. Great attention is to be paid to land allotment to development and the life and habitat of tribal communities have to be studied and utilized as they are the best wardens and the ‘Genome Saviours’. Depending on the nature of the location concentric corridors could be developed into buffer zones while considering an area for project allocation. In these buffer zones appropriate tree species suitable for the agro-climatic conditions can be used for afforestation.

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