WCCB Current Affairs - 2019
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United Nations Environment Program has selected Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and its enforcement officer RS Sharath for 2018 Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards. They were selected under organization and individual categories respectively for their outstanding contributions in combating the trans-boundary environmental crimes. The 2018 Awards will be given by UNEP with UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL (UNODC), USAID, Freeland Foundation, and Government of Sweden.
Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards
The awards publicly recognize and celebrate excellence in enforcement by government officials and institutions/teams combating transboundary environmental crime in Asia. They are given to outstanding individuals and/or government organizations and teams that demonstrate excellence and leadership in enforcement of national laws to combat transboundary environmental crime. The thematic scope of these awards covers any transboundary environmental crimes, including illegal trade in wildlife and illegal trade in chemicals or waste.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
WCCB is statutory multi-disciplinary body under Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. It was established in June 2007 by amending Wildlife (Protection) Act (WLPA), 1972, a special Act to protect wildlife and fauna in the country.
Under Section 38 (Z) of WLPA, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime and disseminate it to state and other enforcement agencies for immediate action. It assists foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.
It is tasked with capacity building of wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist states to ensure success in wildlife crimes prosecutions. It advises Union Government on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
Note: This is second time in row that WCCB is awarded by UN Environment. Last yearit was awarded for its efforts in conducting and coordinating species-specific wildlife enforcement operation codenamed ‘Operation Save Kurma’. The operation is aimed at combating proliferating illegal trade of live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad.
India was awarded certificate of commendation for its effort to combat illegal wildlife trade by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The award was given to Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) for its efforts in conducting and coordinating species-specific wildlife enforcement operation, codenamed ‘Operation Save Kurma’. It recognises exemplary enforcement action of WCCB’s regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade.
Operation Save Kurma
The operation was conducted to combat the proliferating illegal trade of live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad. The operation was also aimed to invite attention of the enforcement agencies towards such illegal trade.
During the operation conducted from December 15, 2016 to January 30, 2017, approximately 16,000 live turtles and tortoises were seized and released back into the wild. WCCB had worked in close collaboration with regional law enforcement agencies of different states.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
CITES is international agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species. Its aim is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.
It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It entered into force in July 1975. It is administered through United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It’s secretariat is located in Geneva (Switzerland).
CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals. Currently, 183 countries are signatory to the CITES.
It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. They are Appendix I: Appendix II and Appendix III species for banning and regulating their cross border trade. In addition CITES also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs.