Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
In less than 100 days, approximately 1,500 delegates, including representatives of national governments, international organizations, scientists, conservation groups and other wildlife experts will gather in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar for the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP13).
COP13 will run from February 17 to 22, 2020, with a high-level event preceding it on February 16.
CMS COP13 will be guided by the theme: ‘Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home’.
Based on an ancient Sanskrit saying, it highlights the need for governments and stakeholders across the world to provide a hospitable place for migratory animals.
The theme also underscores the urgency of protecting natural habitats, which migratory species rely upon as part of their movements, throughout their life cycles and migration ranges.
CMS COP13 comes at a crucial time for migratory species.
The UN global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, released earlier this year, documented the dramatic decline of biodiversity in all parts of the world and concluded that without increased action, over one million species could face extinction in our lifetimes.
COP13 will also provide important inputs to the negotiations of a new global framework on biodiversity which will be adopted at the end of 2020 in China.
CMS Acting Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said in a statement to IANS: “Migratory species play a vital, role for ecosystems around the world. CMS species include some of the most iconic species on the planet, including elephants, whales and dolphins, raptors and songbirds. The recent UN global assessment tells us that we must step up our actions to address the threats to migratory species and biodiversity more broadly.”
“COP13 will be an important meeting to advance our collective efforts to meet this challenge.”
What to expect at COP13?
The COP will consider adding new species to the CMS Appendices to provide them with better protection.
Proposals for CMS Appendix I (for endangered species, providing the strictest protections), include the Asian elephant, the great Indian bustard, the Bengal florican, the antipodean albatross, and the oceanic white-tip shark.
Threats to the Asian elephant include habitat loss and fragmentation, poisoning, poaching, illegal trade, and obstacles to migration such as railways.
The jaguar is the largest native feline in the Americas.
It is now found only in about 60 per cent of its historic range of a hundred years ago.
Also Read- Cricket, a Way of Life
Deforestation, hunting, illegal trade, cattle ranching and obstacles to migration pose serious threats.
The smooth hammerhead shark, the tope shark, and the urial (wild sheep) have been proposed for listing under CMS Appendix II (migratory species with an unfavourable conservation status).
The jaguar and the little bustard have been proposed for listing on both CMS Appendices.
Proposals for concerted actions — focusing conservation measures efforts on specific species among range states — will also be considered.
Twelve new proposals have been submitted for adoption at COP13, including for the Asian elephant, the giraffe, the nut-cracking chimpanzee, the Irrawaddy dolphin, the South Asian river dolphin, and the harbour porpoise.
COP13 will also consider the impacts of climate change on migratory species, which is a key driver of species extinction and exacerbates other threats.
While renewable energy is a key part of the solution to climate change, the COP will also consider efforts to strengthen the CMS Energy Task Force, which focuses on reconciling renewable energy infrastructure with the conservation of migratory species.
COP13 will also discuss further action to address the illegal killing of birds, a major problem across the Mediterranean. (IANS)
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.