"Economic globalisation since 1991 has caused enormous environmental damage, and made the situation of India's poorest people worse. Yet there are alternatives ways of achieving human well-being. This brochure shows how."
Common Concerns: An Analysis of the role and functioning of Biodiversity Management Committees under India’s Biodiversity Law
Co-authored by Kanchi Kohli and Shalini Bhutani
Published by Kalpavriksh and Foundation for Ecological Security
It is ten years since India's Biological Diversity (BD) Act, 2002. As per the Act, access to local resources and people's knowledge is granted to applicants for research, commercial utilisation, transfer of research results and intellectual property rights. At the local level, the law prescribes the setting up of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) to be located in every Panchayati Raj Institution at both the urban and rural level. In other areas peoples are instead demanding legal recognition of their existing traditional structures. A decade after, the experience with the BD Act warranted a closer look. Looking at it through the lens of community control over biodiversity and conservation imperatives the BMCs become a crucial area of inquiry and intervention.This is especially with regards to understanding the commons in aspects of custodianship of biological resource and knowledge.
Three Indian states were chosen for this study on BMCs. These are Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttarakhand. Primarily because apart from the geographic spread, diversity of eco-systems and cultural contexts they have, all of them had either very distinct histories with 'commons' or a notable trajectory with the biodiversity regime.
Traversing through the landscape of the three states, the study draws from the authors' interactions with BMC members and State Biodiversity Boards in these three states. It also lays out the approach of the National Biodiversity Authority and the nodal Union Environment Ministry with respect to BMCs and their perceived role from 'above'. It flags the challenges that lie ahead with implementing the Act to fulfill the stated objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. While it seeks to highlight popular concerns vis-a-vis biodiversity governance. The study will also be of interest to those working on sectoral issues of forest, wildlife, agriculture, etc. for as the study shows the BD Act and the BMCs need to deal with them all.
Its closing chapter 'Wither Common(er)s?' summarises the assessment of the co-authors and also list the key findings of the study. Biological resources may no longer be the common heritage of humankind. But common concerns about both conservation and the lives and livelihoods of local peoples remain across diverse settings. It also attempts to locate principles of community and national sovereignty within the realm of a legal regime and its implementation.
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The Second Act:
Centre-State Conversations on
Ecologically Sensitive Areas (2009-2012)
By Meenakshi Kapoor and Kanchi Kohli
90 pages. Also available in electronic pdf format. Contributory amount Rs.150/-
A study looking at the interactions between the Central and State Governments on the issue of notification of Ecologically Sensitive Areas around Protected Areas and in the Western Ghats
In India, Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) have been declared as mechanisms for environment protection and land use planning using environmental criteria since the 1980s. These notifications have been issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA) using its Section 3 (2) (v) and Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 (EPR) through its Section 5 (1). Many believe that these clauses of the EPA and EPR and the declaration of ESAs hold the possibility of realizing landscape-level conservation in the country. However, over the years the provisions of ESAs have been used only by a few people. Experiences with ESAs has also brought about a range of pressing concerns related to the process of declaration, buy-in of state and local governments and standoffs between various stakeholders impacting the actual implementation of these notifications.
During the period of 2007-2009, Kalpavriksh had undertaken a research study to understand and document thoroughly the process and experiences of the declaration of ESAs in the country. The 2009 study "Ecologically Sensitive Areas of India- The Story so far..." had traced the chronology of the notifications declaring ESAs and also reflected on the various mechanisms as well as methodologies through which each of these ESAs was declared, rejected or remain pending with the MoEF.
This new study is a follow up to the earlier research with an attempt to deal with these ESAs as they have evolved in policy and law post 2009. An effort has been made to understand and document the new developments and policy discourses that have emerged around ESAs in the period from 2009 to 2012, with specific emphasis on:
While the first part of this study lays out the developments around ESAs that took place in the above mentioned time period, the latter part is composed of annexures dealing with the details of these developments like proposals submitted by the states for notifying ESAs around PAs, details of the notifications issued by the MoEF and information on the constitution and meetings of the WGEEP.
This publication contains a printed document of 90 pages. An electronic PDF version of the same is also available. Cover+Credit +Content page
The study was carried out with support of Duleep Mathai Nature Conservation Trust (DMNCT)
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Banking on Forests: Assets For A Climate Cure.?
By Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon
The governance of forests in India has been a complex realm to unravel. Due to the multiple claims to ownership, jurisdiction and management of forests through India's modern history, forests have remained a subject of intrigue for all those trying to understand the complex legalities that have operated within a single space. It is in this arena that the legal processes for the diversion of forests for non forest use has been practiced.
The strategies of valuation of and compensation of forest loss are central to forest regulation in India. They have converted forests into decontextualised, mobile and tradable commodities between regions. The present book seeks to explain how this is achieved and look at the continuity between the domestic regulation on forests and the new abstractions created by the climate change discourse in the form of REDD and REDD+. While the models of valuation differ, the effects on the commodification of forests deepen as greater mobility is created and trading across countries and continents is made possible through real time climate mitigation plan and forestry schemes.
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The financial support for this study was received from Heinrich Boll Foundation.
Note: Two Briefing Papers on Compensatory Afforestation Planning and Management Authority (CAMPA) and a critque of the National Mission for Green India will also soon be available in electronic form. Please let us know if you would like to receive copies of the same.
Pocketful of Forests- Legal debates around compensation and valuation of forest loss in India
By Kanchi Kohli, Manju Menon, Vikal Samdariya, Sreetama Guptabhaya Rs. 200/-
Diversion or dereservation of forest land for non-forest uses such as mining and industry comes with the mandatory condition of compensatory afforestation. This is to be undertaken as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Over the years, the poor implementation of this condition has come under scrutiny. Initiated by the Supreme Court, the debates and deliberations drew in the Central Empowered Committee, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and several legal and forestry experts to find a way to improve implementation. This process put into place a standardised system of valuating forests that are proposed for diversion, based on the ‘goods and services’ provided by them. It has also resulted in the creation of an institutional network comprising forest officials, experts and politicians at the Centre and the States for the collection and disbursal of funds collected on account of diversion or dereservation.
This present book “Pocketful of Forests: Legal debates around compensation and valuation of forests in India”, examines the steps that led to the setting up of the Compensatory Afforestation Planning and Management Authority (CAMPA) and the method of calculating the Net Present Value (NPV) of forests. The arguments that have taken place between the judiciary, the executive and the Parliament since 1999 are valuable material for those interested in matters of forest conservation and forest governance. They touch upon Centre-State relations, the political, administrative and technical notions of forests and the role of negotiation in policy-making.
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This report was supported by WWF-India's Civil Society Collaboration for Environment Governance Initiative.
India’s Notified Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs)
By Meenakshi Kapoor, Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon Rs.150
This document is the first comprehensive compilation of Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) and the range of issues associated with them. It traces the chronology of the nodifications declaring ESAs in India using the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It also reflects on the various mechanism through which each of these ESAs came to be declared, rejected or remain pending with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). The detailed account of each of these ESAs,a comparison of the provisions and the range of actors involved, throw critical light on the trajectory of these ESAs.
Based on in-depth interviews and review of a number of documents ranging from Government records to those shared by activists/NGOs, the report arrives at some conclusions. We hope to add these to the process of understanding the possibilities that ESAs offer as a landscape level planning tool for the conservation of multiple-use areas. Our conclusions also raise some critical concerns on how ESAs have come to be declared as well as implemented.
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Calling the Bluff: Revealing the state of Monitoring and Compliance of Environmental Clearance Conditions Pp32 + Data CD Rs.150
By Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon with Sanchari Das and Divya Badami
This study takes a close look at the level of compliance achieved by projects that are granted environment clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the EIA notification. The findings based on the data collected from the Ministry of Environment’s own documentation and our field investigations point to many areas that need immediate attention. Non-compliance of clearance conditions has severe impacts on people and the environment. In most cases, these are poor labourers and contract workers on projects and local communities living around project sites, community water, forest areas and farm lands.
This document presents the overall findings of the study and our framing of the problem of non-compliance. The Data CD along with document contains the region-wise analysis of the six regional offices as well as the five projects for which we conducted on-site investigations.
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Nought Without Cause-
(Almost everyones’ guide to the Underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation in the era of neoliberal globalization)Kalpavriksh Pp 220, Rs 100
Compiled by Milind Wani
The survival of forests in India is today at a grave risk. To protect them successfully will require a breaking out of the siege of the predatory model of economic development that our country has adapted. It is hoped that this volume will be useful to anyone interested in protecting the natural heritage of our country.
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Undermining India: Impacts of Mining on Ecologically Sensitive Areas
2003, reprinted in 2004 Rs. 75
Neeraj Vagholikar and Kaustubh Moghe, with Ritwick Dutta,
Existing and proposed mining activities threaten ecologically sensitive areas across India. These include protected areas and wildlife corridors; other areas rich in biodiversity and crucial water catchments. Many of these areas are also home to tribal peoples and other communities whose livelihood security is threatened by mining. While a substantial number of the mining threats are from ongoing mining (both large and small), a major emerging threat is new mining, particularly in light of the liberalization of the mining sector in the past few years which has ‘opened up’ access to more areas.
This report covers the following: a national picture of ecologically sensitive areas threatened by existing or proposed mining activities; an analysis of the legal and policy framework on mining and environment; the response of citizens and Indian courts to mining threats, a review of current practices for ecological amelioration of abandoned mines; and a set of concrete recommendations on the issue.
Troubled Islands: Writings on the Indigenous Peoples and the Environment of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
Published with LEAD-India Pp100, 2003, Rs 120
Over the years there has been a reasonable amount of academic work on the hunter-gatherer communities and the fragile environment of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. At the same time, however, the threat to the survival of these small communities has intensified, as development policies that are completely insensitive to their needs and that of the local environment have been conceived, formulated and implemented here.
Little, if any, research or publication in the mainstream Indian media has been seen on this aspect of the islands in the last few decades.
Troubled Islands is a compilation of articles since 1998 by Pankaj Sekhsaria on precisely these issues. It is perhaps the most detailed account of recent developments in the islands and is made up of articles that were first published in leading Indian publications that include Frontline, The Hindu, Economic and Political Weekly and Sanctuary Asia. They look at some of the key issues faced by the islands and the islanders today and follow the major developments that have taken place here in the last few years.
Eleven Years of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 1994; How Effective Has It Been?
Kalpavriksh in collaboration with Just Environment Trust and Environment Justice Initiate (Human Rights Law Network) pp 94, Rs 100
Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification was issued under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, in January 1994. The notification made it mandatory for 29 industrial and developmental activities (increased to 32 by subsequent amendments) to get environmental clearance from the central government before establishing or starting operations. The EIA process was introduced with the purpose of identifying / evaluating the potential beneficial and adverse impacts of developmental projects on the environment, taking into account environmental, social, cultural and aesthetic considerations.
After eleven years of the notification, citizens’ experience of the EIA notification and decision-making process of development projects is filled with disappointment, anger and frustration. Throughout this period NGOs, citizens’ groups and activists have raised concerns about the inherent flaws and discrepancies in the notification as well as the problems with its implementation, which have been brought together in this publication. Apart from a few positive amendments and some good initiatives, the actual potential of the notification is yet to be realised.
What is worse is that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (the nodal ministry for the implementation of the EIA notification), is in the process of ‘reforming’ the environmental clearance procedure. The report takes a critical view of these proposed reforms based on the information available to the public. It concludes with a set of recommendations based on the learning and experiences that have emerged over the last eleven years.