The Government of India has been a state member of IUCN since 1969. Today, IUCN has 33 members in India, one of the highest among Asian countries. IUCN's six Commissions include more than 600 experts from India. In 2007, IUCN established a country office and initiated its activities in India to strengthen its engagement at the national, regional and global level. Through national, regional, and global initiatives, IUCN will support dedicated forums to share knowledge, facilitate research and policy dialogue, design training programmes, and provide policy support. This will provide opportunities for members to enhance their collective strengths, and their collective contribution to national, regional, and global conservation.
Country Programme Objectives:
Various considerations have guided the process of framing the India Programme objectives. These find common ground between India’s conservation priorities, and IUCN’s conservation priorities in Asia. There is ample scope to involve policy makers, decision makers, social scientists, natural scientists, as well as civil society organizations.
The India programme has five objectives, each of which highlights specific improvements in knowledge, in capacity, and in governance at the local, sub-national, and national level. These include:
- Enhancing India’s role in international environmental agreements
Over the years, India has strengthened its participation in international negotiations. However, consistent efforts are needed to keep pace with emerging issues. This will also provide opportunities to build coalitions and cooperate with its neighbours, with other countries in Asia, and with the rest of the world, to bring about national, regional, and global change.
- Mainstreaming conservation in sectoral policy
Tools and methods for valuation of ecosystems, of the goods and services they provide, and of social and environmental impacts can help to integrate conservation into decision-making. These are areas of growing importance where India would work together with other countries to mutual advantage.
- Sustaining fragile transboundary ecosystems
Our shared transboundary ecosystems are in a fragile state, requiring sub-regional cooperation for sustainable management. This would be supplemented by national, sub-national, and local efforts to improve policy and practice.
- Integrating empirical research into policy and practice
Rigorous ecological studies and indigenous research are necessary to understand the magnitude, patterns, and rate of biodiversity loss. The resultant knowledge would find a place in practice by resource managers, and in national and sub-national policy.
- Strengthening IUCN membership
Together with the IUCN country office, the IUCN Indian National Committee (INC) will be responsible for planning, implementing, and reviewing the country programme. The country office will interact closely with members, to appreciate their respective interests, and to understand their capabilities. In keeping with the demands of the country programme, it will actively seek out new members and partners to join the IUCN global community.
Projects and Programmes implemented by IUCN India:
- Himalayan Region Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) - innovative management practices to support mainstreaming of an ecosystem approach to water management.
- The Regional Environmental Law Programme - A study on the access to legal resources by the rural communities to enforce already created norms and the role of NGOs in legal systems.
- Tiger Reserve Assessment - IUCN Asia worked with the Ministry of Environment and Forests to undertake an independent review of tiger reserve assessment reports, and provide technical assistance to improve tiger census methodologies.
- The Livelihood and Landscapes Strategy (LLS) programme demonstrated in 2 landscapes of Orissa and Haryana sucessfully formulated village development plans using participatory principles
- IUCN provided technical backstopping to the Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) in designing mitigation measures and implementing global standards for port development. IUCN is currently working with DPCL to document lessons and best practices through a variety of means
- Connecting People and Ecosystems in the Indian Himalayas is a project to establish watershed restoration and livelihood improvements through the strengthening of community resilience in the Indian Himalayas
- Mangroves for the Future Initiative is a regional initiative that aims to address the long term threats to coastal ecosystems and livelihoods
- Ecosystems for Life, a regional initiative between Bangladesh and india, is an IUCN lead multi-stakeholder dialogue process to promote better management of natural resources in Bangladesh and India