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World Bank nod to $23.5 mn biodiversity grant to India
May, 20th 2011

The World Bank on Thursday approved a $15.36 million credit and $8.14 million grant for a project to conserve high-value forest areas while improving the livelihoods of forest dependent communities in India.

The Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Project will conserve biodiversity, while improving rural livelihoods by applying culturally appropriate and tested participatory approaches to support opportunities for improving rural livelihoods, the Bank said in a statement.

"India is among the most diverse countries, with up to 47,000 species of plants and some 90,000 species of animal and the country's biodiversity is fundamental to human well being," said Malcolm Jansen, World Bank Senior Environmental Specialist and Project Leader.

"Millions are dependent locally on forests for their subsistence and livelihood and 70% of India's rural population depends on fuel wood to meet domestic energy needs," Jansen said.

Noting that India's rich biodiversity is threatened by increased population pressures and over-utilisation of resources along with development that is largely inconsistent with conservation objectives, the Bank said these threats, coupled with the country's high incidence of poverty, have accelerated the speed of degradation.

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