National Target 1: By 2018, at least 60 percent of the population is aware of values of biodiversity and steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
Currently, about 66 per cent of the population interacts with Protected Areas (PA), where environmental education is part of the PA management as mandated by environmental legislations. However, these programmes are ad hoc and limited to raising awareness on environmental rules and regulations or basic understanding of the environment and environmental problems. There are also a number of on-going Environmental Education programs targeting different sections of the population. However, what has been lacking quintessentially is an institutionalized mechanism to ensure that the public understanding of the importance of biodiversity and their role in conserving it, as well as environmental legislations are elevated. Thus, as a first step, it is crucial to ascertain the proportion of the population aware of biodiversity and its values, which will guide in assessing of the efficacy of the existing awareness initiatives, and identify gaps and target groups. In targeting 60 per cent of the population, efforts will be focused primarily on the population living within the PAs. Existing Environmental Education programmes will be strengthened to target the general population, including schools, institutions, private and corporate sectors.
The National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan 2014 was developed by a National Task Force through rigorous consultations. During the stakeholder consultations, this target received the highest rating considering it as an extremely important target at the national level. This is also based on the premise that this target cuts across all other national targets.