First Project Steering Committee Meeting in Delhi

With support from Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the INTERACT-Bio: Integrated sub-national action for Biodiversity-Supporting Implementation of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan project is being implemented in the cities of Kochi, Panaji and Mangalore.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India. In order to facilitate project implementation in India, a project steering committee (PSC) has been formed by the Ministry. The Additional Secretary, MoEFCC is the Chairperson of the Committee. The other members of the committee include Mayor of Kochi; City Representatives from Panaji and Mangalore; Member Secretaries of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa State Biodiversity Boards; Advisor, MoEFCC; Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority; Secretary, National Biodiversity Authority and Executive Director, ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia.

The first PSC meeting was held in Delhi on the 19th of September 2018. The meeting was chaired by Mr. A.K.Mehta, Additional Secretary, MoEFCC. The meeting was attended by Mrs. Soumini Jain, Mayor, Kochi; Dr. B. Meenakumari, Chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority; Dr. J R Bhatt, Advisor, MoEFCC; Dr. Sujata Arora, Advisor, MoEFCC; Mr. Rabi Kumar, Secretary, National Biodiversity Authority; Dr. Pradip Sarmokadam, Member Secretary, Goa State Biodiversity Board; Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia, Dr. Monalisa Sen, Programme Coordinator, ICLEI South Asia and Mr. Rahul Singh, Assistant Manager, ICLEI South Asia.

The project progress till now and activities planned were presented by ICLEI South Asia. Pilot projects planned in the city of Kochi include well restoration and urban farming in Manappattiparambu; well Restoration in PalluruthiJanatha Junction; development of Butterfly Garden in Subhash Park, Nature Interpretation Centre and Thevera Canal Restoration. A detailed study on the site specific ecosystem services provided by mangroves will also be undertaken.

Mrs. Soumini Jain emphasised that in the wake of the recent floods it is very essential to look into developing fresh plans which aim at biodiversity conservation in the city. She said that detailed surveys on the status of biodiversity after the floods needs to be taken up and the action plan should be developed based on the same. She also highlighted the significance of mangroves and back water canals in the city and advocated the need to establish mangrove nurseries and develop canal restoration programmes. She also requested the Additional Secretary. MoEFCC to support the city in seepage management.

Mr A. K. Mehta congratulated the project for the work that has been taken up till now. He highlighted the fact that the action plan that is developed by ICLEI South Asia in this project, should help the city develop specific project proposals and approach donor agencies for funding support. He requested the implementing agencies to support the city of Kochi in accessing additional financial resources with support of the action plan developed. In addition, he added that the project should also develop a greening guideline for the city of Kochi.

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