Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 provides that when any bio-resource is accessed from any area, the local body should get a share/ royalty. Please refer to the following sections of Biological Diversity Act, 2002:
Section 3 to 7 (Access); sections 18 to 47 (functions and powers of NBA, approval of NBA, third party transfer, determination of benefit sharing); sections 49 to 53(settlement of disputes, appeal); sections 55 to 58 (penalties); and sections 60 and 61(Offences).
Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS)
An important conservation measure proposed in Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act gives powers to state governments to declare areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS). Such sites may have important species of seeds, livestock or wildlife. It could also be larger areas of mixed use land which reflect biodiverse ecosystems. The declaration of any BHS has to be in consultation with local bodies, which can include panchayats, district councils, urban wards or even the Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) as proposed to be set up under the BD Act.
In this regard the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has come up with a set of guidelines for the declaration of BHSs across the country. The guidelines were prepared by a NBA committee comprising government officials, scientists and NGOs. Since Section 37 gives final powers for identifying and declaring BHSs to state governments, these NBA guidelines are not binding but can present a suggestive process to state level authorities. The guidelines allow for proposal for BHSs to emerge from community organizations and BMCs, allow for the possibilities of existing community conservation practices and the bodies be consulted for planning and declaration.