Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. More critically, biodiversity provides the basis for ecosystems and the services upon which all people fundamentally depend. World Natural Heritage Site is the crucially important tool to sustain this ecosystem for the benefit of the life on the Earth.
Inscription of the 39 sites of the Western Ghats in India as World Natural Heritage in 2012 has provided TERRE Policy Centre of Pune and Ranwata of Satara with an inspirational vision to leverage the management of these World Heritage Sites for the sustainable development of the local communities. Our vision is to develop a stimulating model of the ‘sustainable living with the nature’ by nurturing our desire to develop and lead healthier life. We aim to contribute to wipe out our blurred past of more than 200 years of post-industrial revolution that has dangerously threatened biodiversity on the Earth that evolved over the last nearly 4 billion years.
Our vision is to emulate the examples set by the bacteria and microbes that transform waste into usable products, insects that pollinate crops and flowers, coral reefs and mangroves that protect coastlines, and the biologically-rich colorful flowers birds, animals landscapes and seascapes that provide not only enjoyment but form the backbone of our daily necessities.
Rooted in our vision is the fact that if the products and services that are provided by biodiversity are not managed effectively, future options will become ever more restricted, for rich and poor people alike. However, poor people tend to be the most directly affected by the deterioration or loss of ecosystem services, as they are the most dependent on local ecosystems, and often live in places most vulnerable to ecosystem change.
Reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity, and ensuring that decisions made incorporate the full values of goods-and-services provided by biodiversity will contribute substantially towards achieving sustainable development as described in the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission report).
Further, the recent findings have affirmed our views that functioning ecosystems are crucial as buffers against climate change, extreme climate events, as carbon sinks, and as filters for water- borne and airborne pollutants.
This web site, jointly managed by TERRE Policy Centre and Ranwata will endeavor to share information and raise awareness that loss of biodiversity affects both material and non-material human well-being. Both the continued loss of biodiversity and the disruption of cultural integrity represent a major towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
We, through this tool will strive to provide information on alternatives to the current policies and the economic systems that do not incorporate the values of biodiversity effectively in either the political or the market systems. It will make available knowledge on the deployment of policies that are not yet fully implemented.
- Rajendra Shende, Chairman (TERRE Policy centre and former Director in UNEP)