The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) – India Initiative (TII)
The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and GIZ’s Indo-German Biodiversity Programme organised a deliberating workshop, at which the findings of several Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Valuation studies were presented to a specially formed learning group. The studies, commissioned by the ministry and GIZ, put the spotlight on the relevance of ecosystems economics in the decision making and planning processes, and have been conducted from the economic, ecological and social perspectives.
The learning group comprised national and state level senior government officials from the forest and fisheries departments, and eminent experts from premier scientific and research institutions, NGOs, and academic researchers. Their collective feedback will be incorporated to make these studies more incisive. This workshop is an affirmative action, and part of a series of workshops by MoEF&CC and GIZ to create a common platform for peer learning that would lead to concrete solutions.
The well-researched studies are expected to be tactical and simple pathways to catalyse interest, spark community dialogue and participation. Most importantly, they are expected to start a public debate on the economic benefits of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and enable change at the local and policy level. The peer-reviewed studies suggest specific measures to support a better economic paradigm, and will be crucial in the decision making processes. These studies focus on topics ranging from Seasonal Fishing Ban, Eco-labelling as a conservation tool, to small grant studies on Mangroves for the Future.
The workshop was moderated by Dr. JR Bhatt, (Advisor), MoEF&CC. Mr. Hem Pande, Additional Secretary, MoEF&CC, during his introductory address, expressed that the ministry was proud of its partnership with GIZ. He mentioned that India is today spending close to 10 billion USD annually to manage its biodiversity, and that the ministry was committed to encouraging valuation approaches, the TII being an outcome of this commitment. Germany is one of the pioneering countries to adopt a valuation approach, and supports Brazil and India to implement initiatives that are built on this methodology.
Mr. Edgar Endrukaitis, Director of the Indo-German Biodiversity Programme emphasised, in his opening remarks, the importance of the studies for policy making. The studies will showcase the economic benefits and will provide more knowledge on functions of nature respective coastal and marine ecosystem services. This could help to improve the coastal and marine management, and to influence policy making, which is the mandate of the TII component, part of the Biodiversity Programme.
Dr. Bhatt said that he was happy that the learning group had engaged in such a vibrant debate, and had served as a receptacle and think tank for ongoing and future research in this area. All the participants unanimously expressed that, going forward, such debates are the need of the hour and should be institutionalised.