INTRODUCTION: The project aims to strengthen the integration of biodiversity management at all levels of governance and facilitate cooperation between national and sub-national authorities for ecosystem management in urban regions. It is funded by Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) under their International Climate Initiative (IKI). The project is in implementation in three countries- Brazil, India and Tanzania and has a duration of four years (2016 – 2020). ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia is the implementing agency project in India. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has identified Kochi as the project model city and Panaji and Mangaluru as the satellite cities.
INCEPTION ACTIVITIES IN KOCHI: The project has been approved by the Kochi Municipal Corporation council through a special council meeting held on 21st August 2017, following which an MoU between the Kochi Municipal Corporation and ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia had been signed. The Centre for Heritage , Environment and Development has been appointed by the Council of the Kochi Municipal Corporation as the nodal office in Kochi (on behalf of the Kochi Municipal Corporation) for the project.
WORK UNDERTAKEN: The first phase of the project involved the development of baseline regarding biodiversity management within the project countries and city-regions through a scoping study. A few of the activities have been completed while some are ongoing:
- Key stakeholders (persons and institutions) in and around Kochi were identified.
- Discussions (one to one) were held with the identified stakeholders and officials of Kochi Municipal Corporation.
- Foreign experts visited the city and held discussions with city officials, college teachers and some experts in the area.
- Interviews with experts and other stakeholders (about 50 experts and 10 institutions or organisations) on different aspects of biodiversity and governance were held.
- Several relevant baseline reports, maps and data were reviewed.
- Preliminary mapping of mangroves and wetlands in the Greater Kochi region was done.
- First stakeholder consultation workshop to discuss results of information collected through primary and secondary data sources was held on 27th October 2017; The Hon’ble mayor presided over the workshop and Dr S.C. Joshi, Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, was the Chief Guest. Over 100 stakeholders and experts participated in the workshop. Mangalavanam and back waters were identified as critical ecosystems.
- Biodiversity awareness programme named “Communicating biodiversity conservation with school students in Kochi was held. Around 10 schools in Kochi participated in this initiative. The initiative programme included :-
- Presentation in each school on significance of biodiversity
- Biodiversity quiz in each school
- Biodiversity register preparation for a school,
- Butterfly park development in a school and
- An inter school painting competition.
- The first two programmes and the fifth programme have been completed in all school; third and fourth programmes are going on in the selected school.
- An Expert stakeholder workshop on ecosystem services was held on 3rd April 2018 which had participation from international and national experts .
- Trees in Subhash Park – A GIS based tree map has been prepared wherein tree species have been identified. The details of the same will be brought in the form of a hand book which is ongoing. This will help support the initiative of the Kochi Municipal Corporation on improving open green spaces.
- Development of scoping report- The process is on going
- Natural asset map development- ongoing (GPS field survey for GIS based high resolution natural asset map for Kochi is going on).
- City Biodiversity Index
- People’s Biodiversity Register
- Biodiversity Park
- Biodiversity Park – Mangrove Park : Feasibility Study