National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) are the principal instruments for implementing the Convention at the national level. CBD requires countries to prepare a national biodiversity strategy (or equivalent instrument) and to ensure that this strategy is mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact (positive and negative) on biodiversity.
China is among the 12 mega-biodiverse countries in the world. Forest cover accounts for 20.36% of the total land area, while the stock volume of forest plantationsmay be the largest in the world, harboring abundant and diverse wildlife. China is also one of the eight centers of origin for crops, with nearly 10,000 species of crops, including their wild relatives. Among them are 528 genera and1,339 species of main cultivated plants, half of which originated in China. The country is also rich in wetlands, with 13,700,300 ha of marsh wetlands,8,351,500 ha of lake wetlands and 8,207,000 ha of river wetlands. Grasslands cover about 41.7% of the country, harboring 6,704 known species of forageplants, among which 320 species are endemic to China. Natural grasslands are inhabited by more than 2,000 species of wild animals and a large number ofplant resources with economic and medicinal values, such as liquorice, ephedrasinica stapf, aweto, snow lotuse and saline cistanche. In marine areas, some20,278 marine species were recorded, representing over 10% of the world’stotal. China also has 2,636,200 km² of deserts (27.46% of the total area) which are however relatively poor in terms of species composition. In 2008, an overall inventories report indicated the presence of more than 35,000 speciesof higher plants (of which 17,300 are endemic, ranking China third in the world after Brazil and Colombia), 6,445 species of vertebrates (667 being endemic) and 10% of the world’s invertebrates throughout the country. Among them are1,371 species of birds (placing China first in the world) and 3,862 fishspecies (which account for 20.3% of the world’s total).
Inorder to coordinate and strengthen the implementation of the CBD, the Chinese Government has established a National Coordination Committee for Implementationof the CBD, which is headed by the State Environmental Protection Administration and composed of 22 ministries and departments, including Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Health, State Forestry Administration, State Administration of Radio, Film and TV, State Administration of Industry and Commerce, General Customs Administration, Xinhua News Agency, Chinese Academyof Sciences, State Intellectual Property Office, State Oceanic Administration,State Traditional Chinese Medicine Administration, People's Daily, and Guangming Daily.
Indiais one of the recognized mega-diverse countries of the world, harbouring nearly7-8% of the recorded species of the world, and representing 4 of the 34globally identified biodiversity hotspots (Himalaya, Indo-Burma, Western Ghatsand Sri Lanka, Sundaland). India is also a vast repository of traditional knowledge associated with biological resources. So far, over 91,200 species of animals and 45,500 species of plants have been documented in the ten biogeographic regions of the country. Inventories of floral and faunal diversities are being progressively updated with several new discoveries through the conduct of continuous surveys and exploration. Along with speciesrichness, India also possesses high rates of endemism. In terms of endemic vertebrate groups, India’s global ranking is tenth in birds, with 69 species; fifth in reptiles with 156 species; and seventh in amphibians with 110 species. Endemic-rich Indian fauna is manifested most prominently in Amphibia (61.2%) and Reptilia (47%). India is also recognized as one of the eight Vavilovian centres of origin and diversity of crop plants, having more than 300 wild ancestors and close relatives of cultivated plants, which are still evolvingunder natural conditions.
Pursuantto the CBD, a first major step was the development of the National Policy and Macrolevel Action Strategy (1999) that called for consolidating existing biodiversity conservation programmes and initiating new steps in conformity with the spirit of the Convention. This was followed by implementation of aUNDP/GEF-sponsored NBSAP Project (2000-2004) that yielded micro-level actionplans adequately integrating crosscutting issues and livelihood security concerns. Some of the major programmes that contribute to its implementation include: Protected Areas (PA) network and its steady growth over the years, consolidationof Biosphere Reserves (BRs) (15), establishment of more species-specific reserves, growth in designated Ramsar sites, augmentation of ex situ effortsthrough the establishment of the network of Lead Gardens and initiatives in theconservation of genetic resources, etc.
Subsequentto the approval of the National Environment Policy (NEP) in 2006, preparationof the National Biodiversity Action Plan was taken up by revising the 1999 document in consonance with the NEP, using the NBSAP project report as one ofthe inputs. The National Biodiversity Action Plan (2008) defines targets,activities and associated agencies for achieving the goals, drawing upon the main principle in the NEP that human beings are at the centre of concerns of sustainable development and they are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. Work is currently in progress to develop national targets within the framework of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020).
Following the ratification of CBD and after widespread consultations, India also enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 and notified the Rules in 2004, to give effect to the provisions of the CBD, including those relating to its third objective on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). India was one of the first few countries to enact such legislation. The Act is to be implemented through a three-tiered institutional structure: National Biodiversity Authority (NBA),State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs), Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) atthe local level, in line with the provisions for decentralized governancecontained in the Constitution. The Biological Diversity Act is a path-breaking and progressive legislation which has the potential to positively impactbiodiversity conservation in the country.