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Gujarat CM Shri Vijaybhai Rupani attended Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species at Gandhinagar.

    Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species via video conferencing at Gandhinagar and said that, India is one of the most diverse countries of the world. With 2.4% of world’s land area, it contributes about 8% of the known global biodiversity.

    The Prime Minister said that for ages, conservation of wildlife and habitats has been part of the cultural ethos of India which encourages compassion and co-existence. “Inspired by Gandhiji, the ethos of non-violence and protection of animals and nature has been suitably enshrined in the constitution of India. It also finds reflection in several laws and legislations.”

    Prime minister said that India’s forest cover has increased significantly. The present assessment also indicates that the total forest cover is 21.67% of the total geographical area of the country. India has been championing Climate action based on the values of conservation, sustainable lifestyle and green development model. The range of our initiatives include ambitious target of 450 MW in renewable energy, push towards Electric Vehicles, Smart Cities, Conservation of Water, etc. India is one of the few countries whose actions are compliant with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping rise in temperature to below 2 degree Celsius.

    Prime Minister talked about how India has initiated focussed species conservation projects/ programmes, and these have shown great results. He said, “India has achieved its target of doubling the number of tigers two years before the committed date of 2022. At present India has total 2967 tigers.” He appealed to the Tiger Range Countries present in the program and also others to come together to strengthen tiger conservation through sharing of benchmarking practices. He talked about the initiative of India for the conservation of Asian elephants. He also talked about what other efforts are being made for the conservation of Snow Leopard, Asiatic Lions, One-horned Rhinoceros and The Great Indian Bustard. He mentioned that ‘GIBI- the Great’ is the mascot of this summit which is a tribute to the Great Indian Bustard.

    Prime Minister said that the CMS COP 13 Logo is inspired by the traditional ‘KOLAM’ from southern India, which has a profound significance in the context of living in harmony with the nature. We have been traditionally practicing the mantra of “Athithi Devo Bhava”, this has been reflected in the slogan/theme for the CMS COP 13: “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home”.

    India would hold the Presidency of this convention for the coming three years. He explained in detail about the primary areas of India.

    Mentioning that India is a part of the Central Asian Flyway for migratory birds, PM said that with a view to conserve the birds along the Central Asian Flyway and their habitats, India has prepared a ‘National Action Plan for conservation of Migratory Birds along the Central Asian Flyway’.  He said, “India would be happy to facilitate preparation of Action Plans for other countries in this regard. We are keen to take the conservation of migratory birds to a new paradigm with active cooperation of all the Central Asian Flyway Range Countries.”

    The Prime Minister said that India proposes to strengthen its association with the ASEAN and East Asia Summit countries. This would be in sync with the Indo Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI), wherein India will be playing a leadership role. India by 2020, will be launching its Marine Turtle Policy and Marine Stranding Management Policy. This will also address the pollution caused by micro-plastics. Single use plastics have been a challenge for environment protection and we in India have been on a mission mode to reduce its usage.

    Several Protected Areas in India share common boundaries with the Protected Areas of neighbouring countries, mentioning this the Prime Minister said that cooperation in conservation of wildlife through establishment of ‘Trans boundary Protected Areas’, would lead to very positive outcomes.

    Prime Minister said, “My Government firmly believes in the path of sustainable development. We are ensuring that development happens without harming the environment. We have released the Linear Infrastructure Policy Guidelines to tailor development in ecologically fragile areas.”

    “My Government has been marching ahead with the slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Vishwaas”. Millions of people living in vicinity of forest area in the country have now been integrated in the form of Joint Forestry Management Committees and Eco Development Committees and associated with the protection of forest and wildlife.” He added. The Prime Minister wished great success to the Summit.

    The Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani said that the migratory birds gel very well with the Indian philosophy of “vasudhaiv kutumbkam”.

    He clearly stated in this reference, that such migratory birds traveling from one country to another and from one continent to another connect the world and the planet. The Chief Minister called upon to make collective efforts for the conservation of migratory species of wildlife.

    The Chief Minister was addressing at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species. This conference is hosted by Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India.

    Shri Vijay Rupani welcomed the delegates from across the globe to Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He said that Gujarat is very important for migratory birds and the state government is doing sincere efforts for the protection of these birds and favourable environment for them.

    The Chief Minister said that Gujarat has long tradition of successful conservation stories like whale shark, Asiatic lions, Indian Wild ass, turtle, the Great Indian Bustard and migrating birds. He said, “We are blessed with presence of millions of migratory birds during this part of the year and the community in Gujarat takes a great pride in their protection. We feel them like our family.”

    Shri Rupani said, “Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji gave a great boost to our conservation efforts when he was Chief Minister. He has also championed the creation of “International Solar Alliance”. Gujarat is now leading in the total solar power capacity installation. Gujarat is also the best State managing its water resources in India.”

    The Chief Minister said that we are committed to reduce our carbon footprints. This conference will become very important for the very ambitious Gandhinagar Declaration focusing on the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

    At the opening ceremony of 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species organised at Gandhinagar, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar said that conservation of migratory species will be possible not only by making rules but by public awareness and public participation. India is the largest biodiversity country in the world and India has always adopted the Mantra of Vision, Aggregation and Creation for the conservation of wildlife.

    In the presence of Ornithologists-Representatives of 130 countries of the world, more than 3250 people around the world have registered themselves for this summit. Shri Javadekar said that this summit will prove to be the largest CMS-COP. He said that the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has put emphasis on the protection of the environment from the beginning. In order to promote solar energy, India has launched International Solar Alliance (ISA) at Haryana. Today, many other countries of the world have joined the alliance.

    Shri Javadekar said that, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and the Prime Minister of India showed his commitment for the protection of environment by starting a separate department on climate change in Gujarat for the first time across the country. UNO has also awarded Shri Narendra Modi for his efforts to protect the environment and the earth.

    Shri Javadekar said that India is a home to many migratory species of wildlife like Snow Leopard, Amur Falcons, Bar Head Geez, Black necked cranes, Marine Turtles, Dungongs, Humpbacked Whale etc. India has also signed the legally abiding MoUs with CMS for the protection and care of Siberian Cranes, Marine Turtles, Dungongs and Raptors. The Minister welcomed all the delegates came across their world and wished the summit a success.

    Union Minister of State for Environment Shri Babul Suprio said at the opening ceremony that this summit will discuss and tackle the problems faced by the migratory species. One of the basic duties of a citizen as outlined in the Constitution of India is to protect the forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and environment and to be compassionate towards every living creature on this earth. It is a matter of pride that every citizen is now performing this duty.

    He further said that, the number of vultures is declining and the government of Indian taking necessary steps for their protection and conservation. The theme of this summit is ‘Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home’ and the its logo is inspired by the traditional art form ‘Kolam’ in Southern India. The ‘Kolam’ art form is used to depict the main migratory species found in India like Amur Falcon, Humpbacked whale and Marine turtles. The bird ‘Gibi – The Great Inidan Bustard’ which is the mascot of this summit, is a critically endangered species and it is given the highest protection status under Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

    Executive Secretary of CMS Ms. Amy Fraenkel said that this CMS event is very important for the conservation of migratory species. She said that the recent UNEP report painted a horrible picture about the state of migratory species.

    Amy further said that this kind of meeting has been held previously for the conservation of various species like giraffe, shark, gorilla etc. and we have yielded very positive outcomes. According to her, over 70% of species in the Appendix-1 are declining and living under the fear of over exploitation. We need to formulate new strategies and new international infrastructure for the conservation of nature and environment through CMS.

    She said that international cooperation, clear goals and the vision to achieve them completely are the most important factors for the conservation of nature at present. Collective efforts are required to meet new fears and challenges and to meet the aspirations of human-ecologists for the conservation of endangered species.

    She further said that we should remember that these migratory species are invaluable. They are more valuable than the nation and its boundaries, national flag, national language, Rupees, Dollars and Euros. CMS is one legal instrument and in order to address direct and indirect drivers of the biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental problems, we need to identify common issues in priority. This battle of conservation of migratory species is not against any nation or any administration but it is a battle against ourselves. She congratulated Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Government of India and Gujarat state for organising this summit and wished the event a great success.

    Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP said that the temperature of earth is constantly rising and the extinction rate of many important species is staggering. We need to work together to prevent ecological devastation.

    He said that he grew up in Congo. After having a childhood among beautiful groves, sunrise and sunset, suddenly I saw that the beautiful trees, birds and animals are replaced by huge roads and buildings. This situation is causing a frightening and devastating silence on earth. They expressed confidence that India could take the lead in the protection of various species of migratory birds in South Asia. He appreciated the efforts of Government of India for the conservation of Dolphins in the river Ganges and said that the damage done to nature in the past must be averted.

    He said that according to the Secretary General of UN Mr. Antonio Guterres, there is no more important goal than being in harmony with the nature and environment. The efforts like COP13 are necessary not only for the conservation of nature and wildlife but also for ourselves.

    The secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India Shri C.K. Mishra welcomed the guests came to participate in this summit from the various countries, on behalf of Government and people of India. Welcoming them on the land of Mahatma Gandhi, he said that India is the largest biodiversity country in the world. He said that this CMS COP13 will be very fruitful for the conservation of migratory species. Year 2020 is celebrated as Super Year for the environment and therefore this summit is very important. Shri Mishra also thanked the Government of Gujarat for wonderfully organizing the summit.

    International space station commander Luca Parmitano said in his video message that the earth looks huge and incredibly beautiful here from the International space station. Our earth has lakhs of animal-bird species and human colonies. He said that the poles of the earth can be seen from the space station. The situation of the layers of ice on the poles 5 years ago is not the same today. The ice on the poles is melting. The temperature of the earth is constantly rising. We have lost many species of birds and animals and we are still losing. In order to prevent this, we all need to come together. He hoped that COP CMS 13 will be successful for making new strategies for the conservation of migratory species.

    The Chief Secretary of the state Shri Anil Mukim expressed his gratitude towards the environmentalists and ornithologists for coming to Gujarat for this summit and wished this summit a success. He also thanked the Government of India and United Nations for choosing Gujarat for organising the Summit.

    At the occasion, ‘My stamp’ was also unveiled in the presence of the dignitaries,  which was prepared by the Post department based on the theme of COP 13.

    In the opening ceremony of CMS COP 13, an interesting song along with a documentary film on various migratory species was presented based on the theme of ‘Ud aao, ude aao ye dharti bula rahi he, khulke pankh felao’.

    Members of union and state level cabinet of the state, ministers of various states and countries, high level officials, environmentalists, high delegates from forest departments, experts of the subject, researchers and experts of various countries and delegates were present at the opening ceremony of COP CMS 13

    Source: Information Department, Gujarat