Malaysia Current Affairs - 2019

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New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019

India will collaborate with Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia to increase the population of three species of Asian Rhinos namely Greater one-horned rhinoceros, Javan rhino, and Sumatran rhino.

India, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia have signed the New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019 declaration for the conservation and protection of the species at the Second Asian Rhino Range Countries Meet organised by the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry in collaboration with IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group, WWF- India and Aaranyak.

Fact Box: IUCN Status

Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros: Vulnerable

Javan Rhinoceros: Critically Endangered

Sumatran Rhinoceros: Critically Endangered

New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019

The 12 point strategic actions outlined under the declaration are:

  • To collaborate for strengthening protection regimes, strategic information gathering, and real-time sharing of actionable information on rhino crime and its horn trade to secure the rhino population within and between range countries.
  • To initiate research on various habitat parameters including invasive species threatening the suitable habitats of Asian rhinos and take appropriate steps to optimally manage the habitats.
  • To explore possibilities of expanding rhino ranges within the country or between rhino range countries for optimal population management.
  • To strengthen transboundary collaboration among India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the greater one-horned rhino conservation and protection.
  • To identify connectivity and corridors across international boundaries and keep them functional, safe and secure for free movement of Asian rhinos and other wildlife.
  • To increase the engagement of the local communities as stewards to secure the future of rhinos in range countries.
  • To initiate proactive monitoring on potential adverse impacts of climate change on rhino health and their habitats in range countries.
  • To undertake studies on Rhino health issues & potential diseases and take necessary steps for management intervention.
  • To regularly organize exposure visits for managers and frontline staffs of the rhino range countries and to document the best practices for wider dissemination.
  • To collaborate and strengthen wildlife forensics for the purpose of investigation.
  • To accelerate natural and conservation breeding of critically endangered Sumatran rhino including best use of all available individuals and technologies.
  • To call to the attention of all countries that possible opening of international trade of rhino horn and other derivatives will have a severe detrimental impact on rhino populations in Asian rhino range countries.

On the occasion, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change re-affirmed India’s commitment towards rhino conservation in India and added that national strategy will further pave the path for long term conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinos in India.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2018: Facts about India

Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector and judiciary are perceived to be by experts and business executives.

It is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide and it does not consider corruption in the business sector. The corruption perception index draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories.

The scores indicate the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100. A score of 0 points that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and a 100 points that a country has sound integrity systems.

Where does India stand?

The Corruption perception index makes the following observations about India:

  • India’s score has been marginally improved 41 from 40 in 2017.
  • India’s ranking increased from 81st in 2017 to 78 in 2018.
  • India had slid from 79th rank in 2016.
  • The report cities countries like India along with Malaysia, Maldives and Pakistan will be important to watch moving forward.
  • The report notes that all these countries mentioned above have witnessed massive public mobilisation against corruption coupled with significant political participation and voter turnout resulting in new governments that promised extensive anti-corruption reforms.
  • The report mentions that these encouraging developments are yet to show some tangible solid action, especially when it comes to combating elusive forms of grand corruption.
  • The report noted that since India gears up for general elections, there was a little significant movement in its CPI score, which moved from 40 in 2017 to 41 in 2018.
  • The report notes that in spite of spectacular public mobilisation in 2011, where citizens demanded the government to take action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal bill, the efforts ultimately fizzled and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required.

These findings gain importance at the time Supreme Court has set the ball rolling for the appointment of Lokpal by setting a deadline for the search committee to recommend names for selection committee headed by Prime Minister.