Missions, Policies, and Protocols

The awareness and attention towards the environment require protection of water, air, soil and land resources. Mother Earth can be restored by preventing land degradation, rapid industrialization, urbanization, depletion of natural resources etc. Thus, to save the world, many national and international environment agreement, laws, missions, policies are formulated from time to time. These Environmental Law plays a very crucial and important role in regulating the use of natural resources and in protecting the environment. They also regulate or manage human impact on the environment in an effort to protect it.


1. Guidelines for Revised Scheme on Research & Development (R&D) for Conservation & Development (2017-2020

The R&D Scheme for Conservation and Development is a Central Sector scheme, which is implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC). It is an important step towards addressing environmental problems by taking measures for conservation and protection of environment in a sustainable manner. Such an objective has to be realised by building indigenous capacities; strengthening manpower in multidisciplinary aspects; generating information for taking policy decisions, preparedness and basis for international negotiations; supporting basic and applied research in environment, ecology and related fields; and facilitating database management on research projects undertaken under the scheme on relevant thematic areas of the Ministry.

The research projects will enable the Ministry to find practical solutions to issues concerning environmental protection and management and to generate information and knowledge from the outcomes of R&D projects for developing policies, strategies, and action plans. It will also help the Ministry in better management and conservation of natural resources for achieving the overarching objectives of sustainable development.

The important thematic areas of the Scheme include Biodiversity Conservation, including issues of Human-wildlife interface; Ecosystem Conservation & Management; Socio-economic issues of Environment and Sustainable Development; Conservation and Management of Landscapes and Ecologically sensitive areas, including issues of sustainable livelihoods; Sustainable Management of Natural Resources; Climate Change: vulnerability & risk assessment, process, mitigation and adaptation; Pollution Prevention; and Waste minimization and management for environmental conservation and protection

The detailed guidelines and other related information about the scheme can be accessed through the original document.

2. National Environment Policy 2006

The National Environment Policy is intended to be a guide to action in regulatory reforms, programmes and projects for environmental conservation as also to review and enactment of legislation by agencies of the Central, State, and Local Governments. The policy also seeks to stimulate partnerships of different stakeholders, i.e., public agencies, local communities, academic and scientific institutions, the investment community, and international development partners, in harnessing their respective resources and strengths for environmental management.

The dominant theme of this policy is that while conservation of environmental resources is necessary to secure livelihoods and well-being of all, the most secure basis for conservation is to ensure that people dependent on particular a resource obtain better livelihoods from its conservation rather than from degradation.

Policy Document: https://ibkp.dbtindia.gov.in/DBT_Content_Test/CMS/Guidelines/20190411103521431_National%20Environment%20Policy,%202006.pdf

3. National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)

The National Action Plan on Climate Change, formulated by the Government of India, hinges on the development and use of new technologies. The focus is on promoting understanding of climate change, adaptation and mitigation, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation. There are Eight National Missions which form the core of the National Action Plan, representing multi-pronged, long-term and integrated strategies f

Original Document: https://archivepmo.nic.in/drmanmohansingh/climate_change_english.pdf

4. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-System (NMSHE)

Recognizing the importance of scientific and technological inputs required for sustaining the fragile Himalayan Ecosystem, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been charged with the nodal responsibility of coordinating The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE). However, the mission requires valuable cooperation of the country’s Himalayan states, Niti Aayog and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to achieve its goals.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change has enunciated the launch of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem. The Mission aims to deliver better understanding of the coupling between the Himalayan ecosystem and the climatic factors and provide inputs for sustainable development in the Himalayan region while also addressing the protection of a fragile ecosystem. It also attempts to address some important issues concerning the Himalayan glaciers; biodiversity conservation and protection; wildlife conservation and protection; traditional knowledge societies and their livelihoods; and planning for sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change has enunciated the launch of the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem. The Mission aims to deliver better understanding of the coupling between the Himalayan ecosystem and the climatic factors and provide inputs for sustainable development in the Himalayan region while also addressing the protection of a fragile ecosystem. It also attempts to address some important issues concerning the Himalayan glaciers; biodiversity conservation and protection; wildlife conservation and protection; traditional knowledge societies and their livelihoods; and planning for sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem.

Original Document: https://dst.gov.in/sites/default/files/NMSHE_Mission_document.pdf

5. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

The National Action Plan on Climate Change outlines India’s domestic plan for sustainable development with specific proposals under each mission representing what India believes needs to be done in terms of ecologically sustainable development and serving the objectives of adaptation and mitigation. As one of the eight National Missions which form the core of the National Action Plan, the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC) seeks to build a vibrant and dynamic knowledge system that would inform and support national action for responding effectively to the objective of ecologically sustainable development. The NMSKCC should ideally serve as a support mission for generating and providing strategic knowledge to all other seven national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change with inbuilt capacities for continuous and mid-course changes in trajectories to take into account international developments in climate change related issues.

Many Ministries and Departments of the Government of India have been supporting research related to climate change and response options through intra-and extra-mural research and knowledge support systems. These include the Ministry of Science & Technology [Department of Science & Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)], Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Agriculture [Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)], Department of Space (DOS), Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), among others. These wide-ranging R&D efforts need to be further strengthened. The National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change would build on this existing base to launch new initiatives as appropriate in a mission-mode manner.

Original Document: https://dst.gov.in/sites/default/files/NMSKCC_mission%20document%201.pdf

6. National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS)

Recognizing that the Himalayas are important for the ecological security of the country, the Government of India attaches highest priority to protect the unique but highly fragile Himalayan ecosystem. The National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), a Central sector grant-in-aid scheme, targets to provide a much-needed focus, through holistic understanding of the system’s components and their linkages, in addressing the key issues relating to conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR). The scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, and it will have its nodal and serving hub with G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development (GBPIHED) located at Almora in Uttarakhand.

The NMHS envisages to work towards a following set of linked and complementary goals:

  • Foster conservation and sustainable management of natural resources;
  • Enhance supplementary and/or alternative livelihoods and overall economic well-being of the region;
  • Control and prevent pollution in the region;
  • Foster increased/augmented human and institutional capacities and the knowledge and policy environment in the region; and
  • Strengthen, greening, and fostering development of climate-resilient core infrastructure and basic services assets

The NMHS has identified a list of 25 indicative thematic areas under six broad thematic thrusts: Sustainable management of land and water resources; Environmental assessment and management; Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; Sustainable infrastructure and energy security; Supplementary livelihood options; and Awareness and capacity building.

The core philosophy is to enhance the focus and funds for supporting demand-driven research and technological innovations along with institutional strengthening and capacity building. The overall attempt is to work towards coordinated policies and duly informed decisions based on empirical evidence and best practices, thereby providing an enabling environment for innovations and multi-stakeholders’ engagement in protection of the Himalayan ecosystems and socio-economic development of the local communities. The detailed vision and mission of the scheme can be accessed through the original document.

7. Policy Brief on Sustainability of Tourism in IHR under Climate Change – Analyses of Policy Options

The prospects of tourism in the Indian Himalayan Region may considerably improve under climate change due to increased inflow of tourists to seek relief from scorching heat in Indian plains, elongated durations of tourist’s seasons, new opportunities in high altitude- and remote location- based nature/ culture/ adventure/ educational tourism, and enhanced scope in winter tourism. The increased probability of extreme events, Climate Change (CC) triggered hazards/ disasters, and continued influence of CC in years to come, however, would continue to haunt the tourism’s growth, development, and sustainability in IHR.

The sustainable management of tourism under CC, therefore, would require a multipronged approach comprising considerations of climate-safe tourism/ developmental planning, minimization of environmental trade-offs, carrying capacity management, inflow regulation through economic instruments and number restrictions, management of tourism operations by centralized booking/ benefit sharing/ effective community organisations, and diffusion of pressure through development of subsidiary pockets, cult and clientele for alternative tourism, system of impact monitoring, and the education, awareness of the guest and host community, etc. The management of urban/ mass tourism centres, which will also serve as a transit for tourism to remote locations under the CC scenarios and tourism in vulnerable eco-sensitive zones in remote pockets, would require special attention. The detailed major policy recommendations for tourism management and sustenance can be accessed through the main policy brief

8. Policy Briefs- Understanding Mountain Peoples

The policy briefs 'Understanding Mountain Peoples’ are originally the output of a research project on the approaches and practices needed to combat climate change in the Indian Himalayan Region. The research, which aimed at formulating renewal and reforms for the environment, was funded by National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) under MoEF&CC and led by the Integrated Mountain Initiative and TERI.

These policy briefs are a bouquet of various smaller research projects on ‘Integrated Farming Systems: A case of paddy-cum-fish culture in Arunachal Pradesh’; ‘The revival of traditional system (Chutsir) on water allocation: A case from Ladakh’; “Samaj stewardship in managing springs in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong Himalaya’; ‘Climate proofing of spring sheds in Meghalaya’; ‘Drip irrigation practice in Mizoram for combating the effect of climate change on farmers in Mizoram’; ‘Agro-biodiversity for Food, Nutrition and Ecological Security: A Case Study on Jhum Agriculture, Nagaland’; ‘DHARA VIKAS – Reviving the springs of Sikkim’, and many others.

Original Policy Briefs: https://dst.gov.in/sites/default/files/NMSKCC_mission%20document%201.pdf

9. National Mission for Green India (GIM)

The National Mission for Green India (GIM), one of the eight Missions outlined under the NAPCC, aims at protecting, restoring and enhancing India’s diminishing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures. It envisages a holistic view of greening and focuses on multiple ecosystem services, especially biodiversity, water, biomass, preserving mangroves, wetlands, critical habitats, etc. along with carbon sequestration as a co-benefit. This mission has adopted an integrated cross-sectoral approach as it will be implemented on both public as well as private lands with a key role of the local communities in planning, decision-making, implementation and monitoring.

The goal of the Mission is to improve or enhance ecosystem services like carbon sequestration and storage, hydrological services and biodiversity along with provisioning services like fuel, fodder, and timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The goal is also to increase forest-based livelihood incomes.

The National Mission for Green India also hinges upon convergence with related Missions of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, other complementary National Mission Programmes and Schemes for better coordination in developing forests and their fringe areas in a holistic and sustainable manner. The detailed information on convergence and related efforts and guidelines contributing to ecological security in the context of climate change can be accessed through the main website of MoEF&CC.

10. Rebuilding Nature as a response to COVID-19 for expediting economic recovery process

In view of the emergence of the global health crisis in 2020 and its economic fallout, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners discussed the need to initiate a discourse on mainstreaming nature into the economic recovery process in India. These discussions led to the initiation of a webinar series under the overarching theme of rebuilding nature as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The series was titled ‘Investing in Nature to Build Back Better’, and it aimed to generate and foster discourse on how we can lay the groundwork for scaling up transformation as part of a ‘green new normal’. It brought together decision-makers, experts, and practitioners to discuss the significance of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration, and find ways to mobilize investments into nature as we build back better. The webinar series concluded in March 2021, bringing valuable insights on nature rebuilding to the fore. Collectively, these webinars help identify ways to recognize, demonstrate and capture reflections on the benefits of investing in India’s unique biodiversity and natural resources. It provides a powerful message that building back better is needed now more than ever.

Website Link: http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Investing%20in%20Nature%20to%20Build%20Back%20Better.pdf

11. Mending the broken relationship with Nature post-COVID-19

This policy brief highlights how human health is directly linked to the state of biodiversity and climate change in the Asia-Pacific region, specifically India. Improving human health and mitigating against future health disasters require simultaneously addressing these causative factors in an integrated fashion.

Website Link: http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Nexus%20Policy%20Brief.pdf

12. Policy Guidance for Restoring Biodiversity and the Natural Capital

Nature underpins all economic activities and human well-being. It is the world’s most important asset. Yet humanity is destroying biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, posing significant but often overlooked risks to the economy, the financial sector and the well-being of current and future generations. This report provides the latest findings and policy guidance for G7 and other countries in four key areas: measuring and mainstreaming biodiversity; aligning budgetary and fiscal policy with biodiversity; embedding biodiversity in the financial sector; and improving biodiversity outcomes linked to international trade. The report shows how Finance, Economic and Environment Ministries can drive the transformative changes required to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity.

Website Link: http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/biodiversity%20natural%20capital%20and%20the%20economy.pdf

International Environment Agreement

1. UN Conference on Human Environment, Stockholm

(Effects of Environmental Degradation on Quality of Human Life)

The world’s first United Nations Conference on the Environment was held in 1972 at Stockholm where the environment was identified as one of the major issues of concern. The participants adopted a series of principles for sound management of the environment, including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment, and several resolutions. The Stockholm Declaration, which contained 26 principles, placed environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of air, water, and oceans and the well-being of people around the world.


2. Vienna Convention

By 1985, the world developed the scientific understanding of ozone depletion and its impacts on human health and the environment. Thus, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was signed in response. It was the first convention of any kind to be signed by every country involved, taking effect in 1988 and securing universal ratification in 2009. This reflects the enormity of ozone depletion at the time and the willingness of the countries to work together to solve it. The Convention aimed to promote cooperation among nations by exchanging information on the effects of human activities on the ozone layer. The motto of Vienna Convention does not stop afterwards; it’s still making progress. The countries involved meet once every three years to make decisions on important issues, including research and systematic observations as well as financial and administrative matters.


3. Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a global agreement to protect the earth’s ozone layer by phasing out the chemicals that deplete it. This phase-out plan includes both the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. The landmark agreement was signed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989.

The parties to the Protocol meet once a year to make decisions aimed at ensuring the successful implementation of the agreement. These include adjusting or amending the Protocol, which has been done six times since its inception. The most recent amendment, the Kigali Amendment, called for the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in 2016. These HFCs were used as replacements for a batch of ozone-depleting substances eliminated by the original Montreal Protocol. Although they do not deplete the ozone layer, they are known to be powerful greenhouse gases and, thus, contributors to climate change.

The Montreal Protocol provided a set of practical, actionable tasks that were universally agreed upon. The Protocol has successfully met its objectives thus far and continues to safeguard the ozone layer today.


4. Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on 22 March 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel, Switzerland, in response to deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad to various developing countries. The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.


5. The Earth Summit

Popularly known as the 'Earth Summit', the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held on 3-14 June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marked the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. Virtually every country in the world was represented (178) and more than 100 heads of state attended. The participating world leaders signed five major instruments: The Rio Declaration (a statement of principles); Agenda 21 (a framework for activity into the 21st century addressing the combined issues of environment protection and fair and equitable development for all, and includes the creation of a new Commission for Sustainable Development); a Framework

Convention on Climate Change; a Framework Convention on Biological Diversity; and a Statement of Principles on Forests.

6. Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement to manage and reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases. The Protocol was adopted at a conference in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and became an international law on February 16, 2005. As many as 192 nations committed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 per cent by 2012, which would represent about 29 per cent of the world’s total emissions.

The countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol were assigned maximum carbon emission levels for specific periods and participated in carbon credit trading. If a country emitted more than its assigned limit, then it would receive a lower emissions limit in the following period.



7. UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg

The Summit brought together tens of thousands of participants, such as Heads of State and Government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and other major groups, to focus the world's attention and direct action toward meeting difficult challenges, including improving people's lives and conserving our natural resources.

The objective of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was to examine the implementation of resolutions made at the conference in Rio, with a particular focus on Agenda 21. Problems such as social justice, dialogue between cultures, health and development were given greater weight than at the previous summits in Stockholm (1972) and Rio de Janeiro (1992). Furthermore, a clearer link was drawn between poverty and the state of the environment.


8. Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark took place from 7-19 December 2009. It included the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fifth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 5).

The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference raised climate change policy to the highest political level. Close to 115 world leaders attended the high-level conclave, making it one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever outside UN headquarters in New York. The Copenhagen Accord contained several key elements on which there was strong convergence of the views of governments. This included the long-term goal of limiting the maximum global average temperature increase to not more than 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, subject to a review in 2015. There was, however, no agreement on how to do this in practical terms. It also included a reference to consider limiting the temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees—a key demand made by vulnerable developing countries.


9. United Nations Climate Change Conference, Doha

At the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar (COP18/ CMP8), governments consolidated the gains of the previous three years of international climate change negotiations and opened a gateway to necessary greater ambition and action on all levels. Countries successfully launched a new commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, agreed on a firm timetable to adopt a universal climate agreement by 2015 and concurred on a path to raise necessary ambition to respond to climate change. They also endorsed the completion of new institutions and agreed on ways and means to deliver scaled-up climate finance and technology to developing countries.


10. The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.