CMS-COP13 : Govt plan for conservation of migratory birds ready, says PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said India has prepared a National Action Plan for the conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) and would be happy to facilitate the preparation of similar plans for other countries.
“I also wish to establish an institutional mechanism for undertaking research, studies, assessments, capacity development, and conservation initiatives by creating a common platform,” Modi said in his inaugural speech at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar.
The CAF covers an area between the Arctic and the Indian Ocean and the associated island chains and comprises several migration routes of waterbirds, mostly extending from breeding grounds in Siberia to the non-breeding wintering grounds in West Asia, India, the Maldives, and British Indian Ocean Territory. Its preservation would require the cooperation of 30 countries and the initiative is likely to be headquartered in India. Representatives from 130 countries will discuss the priorities for the conservation of migratory species for the next decade at CMS-COP 13 from February 17 to 22. The CMS is an international agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme in 1979 to conserve migratory species within their migratory ranges.
In his address, Modi also spoke about the measures India has taken to conserve tigers, Asiatic lions, elephants, snow leopards, one horn rhinoceros, and the Great Indian Bustard, which is the mascot of the CMS-COP 13. Modi said the number of tiger reserves has increased from 9 to 50 now. “India has achieved the target of doubling the number of tigers two years before the committed date of 2022. India is also supporting 60% of the global Asian elephant population. Thirty elephant reserves have been identified by our states. We have launched the Project Snow Leopard to protect the animal and its habitat in the upper Himalayas,” said Modi.
Modi said India initiated an Asiatic Lion Conservation plan in January 2019. “...today, the population of Asiatic lions stands at 523. The one-horned rhinoceros are found in three states in India -- Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. The Government of India launched the ‘National Conservation Strategy for the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros’ in 2019.”
India will assume the presidency of the UN body on the CMS for three years at the CMS-COP 13. With an eye on ecological connectivity for preserving migratory species, India will spearhead trans-boundary cooperation on securing the CAF.
“Migratory birds, mammals, and aquatic species are increasingly in danger on their migration routes and countries need to work together to protect them. But we must not put unrealistic conditions that will affect the livelihoods of people and make them anti-wildlife,” said Union environment minister Prakash Javdekar.