National Seminar on the Role of BSI and ZSI in the Next Millennium

The Botanical Survey of India and the Zoological Survey of India are the premier survey organisations of the country engaged in the survey and inventorization of floral and faunal resources of the country. International developments in recent years, including adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992, have necessitated an assessment of work done by BSI and ZSI for reorienting these premier institutions to meet the emerging challenges of the coming century for survey, identification, monitoring, and conservation of biological diversity. ln this background the Ministry of Environment & Forests had organised a two day National seminar on 16-17 March 1999 at the Scope Complex, New Delhi.

Hon ble Minister of Environment and Forests, Shri Suresh P. Prabhu, inaugurated the Seminar at 10.30 a.m. on 17th March, 1999. Shri Babu Lal Marandi, Minister of State (E&F), Dr. T.N. Khoshoo, Chairman, Programme Advisory Committee (ZSI and BSI) and Shri Vinod Vaish, Special Secretary, MOEF, were present in the inaugural session. About 70 experts from all over India including Dr. T.N. Khoshoo, Dr. Saldhana, Prof M.S.Jairajpuri, Prof C.R. Babu, Prof. T.N.Ananthakrishnan participated in the deliberations for assessing the work done by BSI and ZSI and identifying the critical gap areas. In order to reorient BSI and ZSI to face the challenge of the coming century, the participants divided themselves into seven Working Groups. The details of these Working Groups are: Stock-taking and future strategy; Conservation of threatened species; Microorganisms; Database; Networking; and Restructuring.

During the Seminar, eminent experts deliberated in great detail for the formulation of a pragmatic Action Plan which would galvanize these two institutions with special reference to future strategies, networking, identification of gap areas, strategies for rehabilitation, ex-situ and in-situ conservation, coverage of microorganisms and development of multipurpose databases. In all, 108 recommendations emanated in this context.

The concluding session of the Seminar was held on March 18, 1999. Shri Suresh P. Prabhu, Minister of Environment & Forests, Dr. T.N. Khoshoo and Shri Vinod Vaish, Special Secretary, MOEF, participated. The Minister, in his concluding remarks, while appreciating the hard work put in by the participants during the two-day brainstorming, assured that these recommendations would be operationlised in the shortest possible time. Highlighting the interlinkages and commonalties in the functioning of BSI and ZSI, the Minister emphasised the requirement to consider the future of these two organisations together. The Minister reiterated the need for developing effective linkages and networking with the other organisations through modem information technological tools for efficient delivery and interface with people, and for creating mass awareness. The Minister stressed the importance of public participation, particularly in conservation of Protected Areas. For this purpose, he highlighted the necessity to make the people aware of the ecological goods and services provided by these conservation areas and to develop organic linkages with the ecosystems. The Minister hoped that the recommendations emanating from this seminar would provide a long-term vision and a short term action plan for BSI and ZSI in the next millennium.