On February 17th, India assumed the presidency of the United Nations body on Migratory Species for the next three years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Thirteenth Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Migratory Species, which kicked off in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and is being attended by researchers and biodiversity leaders from as many as 130 countries.
Before this event unfolded in Gujarat, befitting good news was reported from the state. IANS reported on 15th February that there had been significant rise in the number of birds at two of the state’s wetlands.
Gujarat Forest Department conducts bird census every two years in the two wetlands. According to the census carried out on February 8-9, more than 3.15 lakh birds from 131 species were found at the Nal Sarovar Lake, while over 57,000 birds from 87 species were spotted at the Thol Bird Sanctuary. During the 2018 census over 1.43 lakh birds from 122 species were recorded at the Nalsarovar, while 40,000 plus birds from 92 species were seen at the Thol Bird Sanctuary.
It is also reported that the first census in the Kutch region found over 4.8 lakh birds in the Greater Rann of Kutch and more than 4 lakh in the Little Rann of Kutch. Over 5.5 lakhs flamingos, including more than 3,00,000 hatchlings, were counted in both the Greater and Little Rann of Kutch.
Inaugurating the key UN Summit via video conferencing, Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s commitment towards conservation efforts. He said, “India has four biodiversity hotspots – Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats, Indo Myanmar landscape and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and is home to as many as 500 species of migratory birds from across the globe.”
Detailing the road ahead for India’s conservation efforts, the PM said, “During India’s role as the CoP President in the next three years, the Convention will look at conserving the Central Asian Flyway. As part of the effort to achieve this, India has prepared a National Action Plan.”
The Conference kicks off ‘“Super Year for Environment”, which will include a UN Summit in September, and culminate in the UN Biodiversity Conference at the end of 2020, when a new global biodiversity strategy for the next decade will be adopted – the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.