Ministry of Environment Current Affairs - 2019
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Ahead of International Day of Biological Diversity (celebrated on 22 May), an awareness campaign was launched by the name of ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ to be displayed at major airports across India.
Key Highlights about Campaign
- To raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade
- To garner public support for conservation and protection of wildlife, prevention from smuggling and for reduction in demand of wildlife products.
- It also complements worldwide action taken on illegal trade in wildlife via UN Environment’s global campaign called Wild for Life.
- Launched By: United Nation (UN) Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India. Both WCCB and UN Environment started a comprehensive approach with focus on awareness building towards issue of prevention of illegal trade, smuggling of wildlife (and wildlife products) through exit points.
- Inauguration: Campaign was inaugurated by Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador (and also UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate), in presence of officials from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India (WCCB), UN Environment, UN agencies and GMR Group.
- Coverage: In collaboration with Airports Authority of India (AAI) and GMR Group, the campaign is set to travel across 22 airports across India over the next year.
- Need: Illegal wildlife trade drives a species to brink of extinction. With a thriving organized wildlife crime industry, the crime chains are spreading across world and India is also seeing a sharp rise in its illegal trade in wildlife. Thus there is an urgent need for awareness, action and stringent law enforcement to curb illegal wildlife trade which is threatening biodiversity and conservation in wild.
- Importance: Conservation is natural to India’s ethos. Although, while wildlife faces global threat and India’s flora and fauna’s demand continues to rise in illegal global markets, India’s stringent provisions for protection of wildlife under its Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and efforts towards creating awareness among public at large would still have to go a long way to help protect our wildlife. Thus, campaign is an important step forward in creating much-needed awareness and regaining public attention on wildlife trafficking which threatens very survival of these species.
- Species covered: In First Phase of the campaign, Tiger, Star Tortoise, Pangolin and Tokay Gecko are featured. They have been chosen as they are highly endangered because of illegal trading in International markets. Second Phase will see more threatened species.
- Tiger is trafficked for its skin, body parts and bones.
- Pangolin, is most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet. It is trafficked for its meat and for its scales which are used in traditional medicines.
- Star Tortoise is trafficked for pet trade and meat.
- Tokay Gecko is trafficked for its use in traditional medicine, mostly into South East Asia (SEA) but mainly Chinese Markets.
About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
- WCCB is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by Government of India (GoI) under Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), to combat organized wildlife crime in India.
- It assists Customs authorities in inspection of consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions laid down in Wild Life Protection Act (WPA), 1972, (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Export-import (EXIM) Policy governing such an item.
Tags: AAI and GMR Group • Airports Authority of India • CITES • Dia Mirza • Forest and Climate Change • Ministry of Environment • Pangolin • Star Tortoise • Tiger • Tokay Gecko • UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador • United Nation Environment India • WCCB • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau • Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972
The joint meetings of three conventions on chemicals and waste namely Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
- About: The 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to Basel Convention (COP 14) was held along with the 9th meeting of the COP to Rotterdam Convention and the 9th meeting of the COP to Stockholm Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 April to 10 May 2019.
- Theme of 2019 meetings was- “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.
- India and COP: An Indian delegation of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), and along with other ministries namely Agriculture Ministry, Chemicals and Fertilizer Ministry, and Electronics and Information Technology Ministry (MeitY) participated in the joint meetings and set a tone at COP.
- In Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, two important issues were mainly discussed and decided i.e. technical guidelines on e-waste and inclusion of plastic waste in Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.
- India’s Stand: In view of growing consumption of electronic equipment and waste across world, India highlighted that technical guidelines provision in name of re-use, repair, refurbishment and failure leads to possibility of e-waste dumping from developed world to the developing countries. So, Indian delegation strongly objected the proposed decision on these guidelines during plenary and did not allow it to be passed by conference of parties (COP).
- Outcome: On final day of COP, a modified decision was adopted in which all concerns raised by India were incorporated. This thereby opened a window for further negotiations and corrections in draft technical guidelines on e-waste.
- In Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP), COP decided to list “Dicofol” in Annex A (Elimination) without any exemption. The “PFOA”, (Perfluorooctanoic acid) was also listed with some exemptions in Annex A of Stockholm Convention.
- In Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, two new chemicals named Phorate and HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) were added in list for mandatory Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure in international trade.
The Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share common objective of protecting human health and environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
Tags: Agriculture Ministry • Basel Convention • Chemicals and Fertilizer Ministry • COP • COP 14 • E waste • Forest and Climate Change • Geneva • HBCD • Ministry of Environment • Phorate • Prior Informed Consent • Rotterdam Convention • Stockholm Convention • Switzerland