The Jammu & Kashmir Biodiversity Council today organized a stakeholders meeting on development of City Biodiversity Index (CBI), Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Srinagar City at Banquet Hall, here. Mayor, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Junaid Azim Mattu was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session.The event was also attended by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & (HoFF) and Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Biodiversity Council, Dr, Mohit Gera; Director, SFRI and Addl. PCCF Asaf Mahmood Sagar; Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Athar Amir Khan; Director, Environment Dr. Neelu Gera; Director Soil & Water Conservation Department Dr. T.S Ashok Kumar; Addl. APCCF, Kashmir T.Rabi Kumar and many other officers from Forest and Allied departments, Jammu Municipal Corporation and various line departments, besides NGOs and members of Civil Society. As Srinagar and Jammu are being developed as Smart Cities, Government of J&K has initiated development of City Biodiversity Index for these Smart Cities and J&K Biodiversity Council approached United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the task has been assigned to a renowned organisation, ICLEI, South Asia.The City Biodiversity Index is based on 23 different indicators pertaining to the Native Biodiversity Ecosystem services, governance and management of Biodiversity. City Biodiversity Index is an important tool which enables a City Municipal Corporation to plan and manage the city’s biodiversity towards development of a sustainable City.
Speaking on the occasion, the Mayor congratulated the Jammu & Kashmir Biodiversity Council for initiating the task of preparing the base line of Biodiversity of Srinagar and the Strategy and Action Plan. He called for preservation of every component of Biodiversity in Srinagar as a sacred cause which should be performed with a sense of duty and earnestness.He advocated that Urban Development and Planning Policies and priorities will determine the fate of our Biodiversity. He said our Master Plan in Srinagar will need to be reviewed and re-conceived with the preservation of Biodiversity as an integral part of the Plan.He concluded by stating that Srinagar Municipal Corporation commits itself to working earnestly towards Biodiversity conscious planning and will extend full support to J&K Biodiversity Council.Principal Chief Conservator of Forests spoke on the rich biodiversity of Jammu & Kashmir and activities of J&K Biodiversity Council on documentation and conservation of the rich biodiversity of J&K with the involvement of Biodiversity Management Committees. He also elaborated upon the scope of the stakeholders meeting and informed on the benefits of Urban Biodiversity especially for the city of Srinagar. He further informed that the City Biodiversity Index is a self –assessment tool for cities to evaluate and monitor the progress of the biodiversity conservation efforts against their own baseline. Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation while speaking on the occasion expressed his concern on the challenges the City of Srinagar is facing on account of Pollution of Lakes and declining components of Biodiversity like birds, habitat, and spread of invasive species and changing climate. He also assured full involvement of SMC in planning and conserving the biodiversity of Srinagar.The programme Coordinator, Dr. Monalisa Sen, from ICLEI South Asia conducted hands on exercises on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services for all stakeholders, including officials of the line department, members of J&K Biodiversity Council, SMC, NGOs, and scholars/students among others.Dr. Ruchi Pant from UNDP, India also spoke on the occasion and discussed future possibilities of working with Govt of J&K and City Corporation on different aspects of Biodiversity Conservation & Climate Change.