16 nations; 9 international organisations join India-led big cat alliance so far

World Saturday 02/March/2024 08:58 AM
16 nations; 9 international organisations join India-led big cat alliance so far

New Delhi: As many as 16 countries, including Brazil, Nepal, Bangladesh and, Malaysia, have formally joined the newly formed big cat alliance led by India, Environment Ministry officials said on Friday.

In addition, nine international organizations, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International, have given consent to join the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA).

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA), with headquarters in India, on Thursday. This alliance aims to initiate 'Big Cat Diplomacy' and also promote a green economy.

The initiative will focus on the protection and conservation of seven major big cats: tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, pumas, snow Leopards and cheetahs.

India has also announced a one-time budgetary support of Rs 150 crore for a period of five years, from 2023-24 to 2027-28.

Speaking to reporters, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav confirmed that so far, 16 countries have agreed to join the IBCA.

Moreover, more countries are expected to join soon, officials at the Environment Ministry said.

"We have received consent from 16 nations as alliance members and 9 international organisations. We are expecting more countries to join soon," he said.

Seven big cats include Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar and the Cheetah out of these five big cats viz. Tigers, lions, leopards, Snow leopards and Cheetahs are found in India.

The International Big Cat Alliance has been conceived as a multi-country, multi-agency coalition that aims for mutual cooperation among countries for mutual benefit in furthering the conservation agenda.

The 16 alliance member countries are Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Kenya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Suriname and Uganda.

Meanwhile, nine international organisations that have given consent are IUCN, Science and Conservation International Snow Leopard Trust, Global Tiger Forum, FAO; HE Zurab Pololikashvii, Secretary General of UNWTO; The Amur Tiger Centre; WWF International; World Customs Organization, Midori Paxtor; Director Nature Hub Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP.

IBCA would have a multipronged approach to broad-basing and establishing linkages manifold in several areas and help in knowledge sharing, capacity building, networking, advocacy, finance and resource support, research and technical support, education, and awareness, the environment ministry said.

IBCA governance consists of an assembly of members, a standing committee, and a secretariat with its headquarters in India.

According to an environment official, the framework of the agreement (statute) has been drafted largely on the pattern of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and is to be finalized by the International Steering Committee (ISC).

The Alliance ensures sustainable use of natural resources and mitigates challenges emanating from climate change.

By safeguarding big cats and their habitats, the IBCA contributes to natural climate adaptation, water and food security and the well-being of thousands of communities reliant on these ecosystems, the ministry mentions.

IBCA would instill cooperation among countries for mutual benefit and immensely contribute to furthering the long-term conservation agenda," the ministry added.