MoEFCC Current Affairs

Global Wildlife Programme Conference held in New Delhi

The Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) Conference was recently held in New Delhi. It was jointly hosted by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), World Bank and United Nations Development Programme. Theme of the Conference was – “Peoples’ participation in wildlife conservation”.

GWP Conference

The GWP Conference held discussions on management of wildlife habitat, securing sustainable community livelihood, enhancing enforcement, monitoring, cooperation to reduce wildlife crimes such as poaching and related threats. It also provided an opportunity for India to showcase its conservation efforts through joint forest management, eco-development committees, vana sanrakshan samitis,  in and around protected areas.

Global Wildlife Programme (GWP)

The GWP is World-Bank led global partnership of 19 countries in Asia and Africa to promote the conservation and sustainable development by combating trafficking in wildlife. It was initiated in 2015 by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It serves as a platform to exchange knowledge and coordinate in on-ground action for combating illegal poaching of wildlife and improve governance on wildlife conservation. It seeks to reduce both supply and demand that drives illegal wildlife trade, and protect species and habitats through integrated landscape planning.

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Government notifies Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 to prohibit range of activities in wetlands. The new rules will replace earlier rules notified in 2010.

Wetland

Wetland is transitional land between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where water table is usually at or near surface or it may be land covered by shallow water. It supports rich biodiversity and provides wide range of ecosystem services such as water storage, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, aquifer recharge etc.

There are 115 wetlands officially identified by Central Government and of those 26 are identified as wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention (an international intergovernmental treaty for conservation of wetlands to which India is party).

Wetlands are threatened by reclamation and degradation due to activities like drainage and landfill, pollution, hydrological alteration, over-exploitation resulting in loss of biodiversity and disruption in ecosystem services provided by them.

Highlights of new rules

State Wetlands Authority (SWA): It stipulates setting up of SWA in each State/UTs headed by State’s environment minister and include range of government officials. State government will also nominate one expert each in fields of wetland ecology, hydrology, fisheries, landscape planning and socioeconomics.

Functions of SWA: It will develop comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within notified wetlands and their zone of influence. It will also recommend additional prohibited activities for specific wetlands, define strategies wise use of wetlands and its conservation and undertake measures to enhance awareness within stakeholders and local communities on values and functions of wetlands. In this case, wise use has been defined as principle of sustainable uses that is compatible with conservation.

Prohibited Activities: The rules prohibit activities like conversion of wetland for non-wetland uses including encroachment of any kind, setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping and discharge of untreated wastes and effluents from industries, cities, towns, villages and other human settlements.

Digital inventory of all wetlands: Mandatory for state authorities to prepare list of all wetlands and list of wetlands to be notified within six months. Based on it, a comprehensive digital inventory of all wetlands will be created  and will be updated every ten years.

National Wetlands Committee (NWC): The rules stipulates for setting up of NWC, headed by MoEFCC Secretary, to monitor implementation of these rules and oversee work carried out by States. NCW will also advise Central Government on appropriate policies and action programmes for conservation and wise use of wetlands, recommend designation of wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention, advise on collaboration with international agencies on issues related to wetlands etc.

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