REPORT OF ONE DAY WORKSHOP ON
BIODIVERSITY OF GOA
ORGANISED JOINTLY BY
PEACEFUL SOCIETY – Goa, ECONET-PUNE and INSTITUTE OF SAFETY, OCCUPATION HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, GOVT. OF GOA.
NOV. 1, 1996. ISOHE COMPLEX ALTINHO, PANAJI – GOA.
Objectives of the workshop:-
The local organizers had aimed at exposing influential participants to several areas of biodiversity in local language and to focus priority areas of biodiversity conservation, protection and utilization.
The workshop inaugurated by the Chief Secretary of Govt. of Goa, Dr. G. C. Srivastava who also holds the environment secretary’s office. Dr. Srivastava acknowledged the threats to ecosystems in Goa and agreed with the need to conserve local biodiversity.
Dr. Vijay Paranjape in his introductory remarks highlighted the awareness brought about by the Rio convention on biodiversity and attempts in India to motivate the people and the Govt. to take suitable initiatives for protection of the rich biodiversity. He expressed the need to work closely with the Govt. bodies by offering them ideas and through consistent advocacy. Dr. Nandkumar Kamath led team of Peaceful Society along with Bharati Bandodkar and Niraj Naik in the workshop and presented an overview of status of biodiversity in Goa.
Salient aspects of the workshop:-
- this was the first such workshop in history of Goa on biodiversity in the local official language-KONKANI
- the workshop was organized in collaboration with ISOHE, a state govt. institution thus bringing together the NGOs, members of the public and the govt. agency.
- the participants were selected on basis of their social / cultural track record, ability to transmit new ideas to grass roots level and influence the public opinion.
- the resource persons included folklorists, scientists, ecologists providing ideal interdisciplinary input for meaningful discussion and interaction.
|Status of Goa’s biodiversity
|Dr. Nandkumar Kamat
|Mr. Jagadish Wagh
|Biodiversity of Goa as reflected in traditional folklore
|Shri Pandurang Phaldessai
|Dr. Nandkumar Kamat
|Eco-feminism and biodiversity relationship as seen in Goa’s folklore
|Miss Jayanti Naik
|Shri. Dilip Borkar
|Kunbi community of baradi Betul in South Goa
|Dr. Bernadette Gomes
|Dr. J. B. Sardesai
|Goa’s algae, seaweeds and ferns
|Dr. Vijaya Kerkar
|Dr. Ajit Shirodkar
Summary of issues which emerged from the workshop:-
- People are generally ignorant about the extent of biodiversity and its economic and ecological significance
- Biodiversity knowledge, especially ecosystem, habitat, plant and animal biodiversity is well recorded in Goa’s traditional and non formal indigenous knowledge systems such as folkfore
- There is no inventory/checklist of Goa’s biodiversity. A statistical data sheet was produced by Dr. Kamat which shows about 4500 species.
- OBCs of Goa and women are important guardians of natural resources and biodiversity. Their role is not fully acknowledged at govt. or academic level.
- Pressures of development, especially construction activity, mining, quarrying, tourism, urbanisation, industrialization are eroding biodiversity
- Coastal Goa is facing biodiversity erosion due to pollution in estuaries, damage to beach ecology and mangrove ecosytem and destruction of coconut groves and khazan (saline) paddy fields.
- There is no emphasis on biodiversity in education.
- Existing environmental acts are not enforced in Goa.
- There is no literature on biodiversity in local languages.
- There is marginal interaction between the NGOs and the Govt. and NGOs and the Village Panchayats for taking up biodiversity issues.
- It is important to catalogue the wealth of medicinal plants of Goa and document their issues.
- Wild germless needs to be conserved in local seed/gene banks.
Recommendations of the workshop :
- Goa needs an All tax a biodiversity inventory.
- Sacred groves of Goa need to be surveyed and conserved.
- State Govt. should pass an appropriate law to protect indigenous knowledge systems and biodiversity.
- Hot spots of biodiversity erosion within the state of Goa need to be identified for remedial action.
- The coastal and western ghats areas are especially vulnerable to developmental pressures. Biodiversity-rich zones from these areas need to be protected.
- Every village panchayat should be encouraged to prepare a local natural resource list and community biodiversity conservation scheme
- Women and OBC’s form important components of biodiversity conservation movement. They should be consulted and involved at all stages of biodiversity conservation schemes.
- Biodiversity education should form a major component of environmental education from school to university level.
- Bio economic Assessment of biological wealth of Goa should be done through experts.
- Bio diversity impact Assessment should be made compulsory for all developmental projects.
Proposed follow up action :
- preparation of approach paper on biodiversity conservation for the State Govt. to be included in the 9th five year plan proposals
- Publication of workshop papers after revision and editing
- Organisation of taluka level mini-workshops/meetings
- Publication of a scientific checklist of all know local species
- Setting up a central biodiversity documentation center for west-coast / western ghats
Actions initiated by the state govt. after the workshop:
- encouragement to biodiversity research projects, establishment of nurseries
- passing of a legislation on control of non-biodegradable waste
- Ordinance banning wetland filling and indiscriminate hill cutting to be promulgated
Response from media:
The workshop was well received by the local media both vernacular and English. Two papers presented in the workshop were published in modified form in the 1996 DIVALI issue of KONKANI, the official literary magazine of KONKANI BHASHA MANDAL.
Conclusion: The workshop was widely appreciated for its theme and substance and succeeded in creating tremendous awareness among the opinion leaders about the threats to Goa’s biodiversity and the need to take timely action.