Biological Diversity Act 2002

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 21, 2022, 8:54

The Biological Diversity Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to conserve biological diversity in India. The act was passed on February 5, 2003, and commenced from October 1, 2003, and July 1, 2004. It is the first attempt in India to legislate on the conservation of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is an important natural resource that supports all life forms on Earth. It is vital for agriculture and forestry (for example, through pollination), fisheries, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism industries. It provides humans with water supply, food security, fuelwood, etc. Thus biodiversity is a critically important resource for sustaining human societies worldwide.

Detailed Framework of the Biological Diversity Act

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was passed in its fifty-third year of the Republic of India. The act was drafted to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) obligations signed at Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The act provides the regulatory framework for access:

  • To protect India's native plants and animals by providing a safe haven;
  • To regulate by way of a system of prior informed consent procedure, obligation to share benefits arising out of research and development and commercial utilization with providers of biological resources and knowledge;
  • To create mechanisms for the protection and conservation of traditional knowledge.

Biological Diversity Act Objectives

The act envisages establishment at national and state levels. At the national level, it is National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), while at the state level, it is State Biodiversity Board (SBB).

The main objectives are:

  • Conserve biodiversity, use it sustainably and promote its equitable sharing as a common heritage of humankind.
  • Provide for conservation of bio-geographical classification; establishment and regulation of National Biodiversity Authority, State Biodiversity Boards; setting up Biodiversity Management Committees;
  • Preparation of People's Biodiversity Registers by such committees;
  • Laying down procedures for access to biological resources and associated knowledge by foreign citizens or companies;
  • Establishing an effective mechanism for collecting and sharing benefits arising from using biological resources, knowledge, etc.; laying down penalties for infringement, etc.

Provisions of Biological Diversity Act

The act has provisions for:

  • Establish National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) to implement the provisions.
  • Regulation of access to biological resources, including prior informed consent, benefit-sharing, and submission of bio-survey reports.
  • Establish People's Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) at the local level by SBBs to document knowledge about local biodiversity and associated customary sustainable practices.
  • Intent to use traditional knowledge for commercial purposes.
  • Publication or exhibit of traditional knowledge without prior consent.
  • Punishment for offences under the act.

Hence, it requests all the members of this esteemed Network to kindly disseminate information about the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 in their respective states/UTs and encourage stakeholders to submit proposals for obtaining access to biological resources and associated knowledge wherever needed. It also urges them to take the necessary steps to establish State Biodiversity Boards at their end to ensure effective implementation of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Through its various programs and projects, it has been facilitating conservation, sustainable use, and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of biological resources by ensuring that the legislative environment provided by the Biological Diversity Act 2002 is effectively implemented in letter and spirit.

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FAQs on Biological Diversity Act 2002

Q.1) What is the Biological Diversity Act, 2002?

The Biological Diversity Act of 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for "conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

Q.2) When did the Biological Diversity Act 2002 come into force?

The act was passed by the Indian Parliament in 2002 and came into force on February 5, 2003.

Q.3) What are the objectives of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002?

The act has three main objectives: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and equitable benefit-sharing. The act affects the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Q.4) What is Biological Diversity?

Biological diversity can be defined as the variation in all life forms, ranging from the genetic makeup of an individual organism to entire ecosystems. The term biodiversity encompasses various environmental parameters such as genetic diversity, species diversity, ecosystem diversity, etc.