Government launches wildlife action plan for next 15 years

After integrating climate change into wildlife planning, putting greater thrust on wildlife health management and poaching, increasing public outreach and tweaking previous strategies, the Union Environment Ministry on Monday released the third National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) for 2017-31.

The NWAP 2017-31, of which there are 250 projects, is India’s roadmap to conserve wildlife for the next 15 years.

Aspiring to be a global leader in wildlife conservation, the Union Ministry’s plan is woven around the agenda of the United Nations’ 15th Sustainable Developmental Goal — “Life on Land”.

Highlights of the plan:

The key strategic change in the new plan is adopting a “landscape approach” to the conservation of all the wildlife — uncultivated flora (plants) and undomesticated fauna (animals) — rather than the areas where they occur.
This means that while till now programmes and plans related to wildlife were focused on and around national parks and sanctuaries, now the strategies would be based on the landscape of the region that may not be limited to a reserve forest system alone.

The plan has been divided into five components, which are further divided into 17 themes carrying 103 conservation actions. Each theme has a set of conservation actions and projects — 250, in all.

Man-animal conflict mitigation, adapting to the climate change, managing eco-tourism, ensuring public participation in the conservation, developing human resources, strengthening research and monitoring through modern technology like radio collars and drones and ensuring funds for the wildlife sector have been given special thrust in the planning.

The plan adopts a “landscape approach” to the conservation of all wildlife – uncultivated flora and fauna – that have an ecological value to the ecosystem and to mankind irrespective of where they occur. It gives special emphasis to the recovery of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats.

The government has also underlined an increased role of private sector in wildlife conservation. The plan lays down that the Centre would ensure that adequate and sustained funding including Corporate Social Responsibility funds are made available for the National Wildlife Action Plan implementation.

Background:

India is jointly hosting the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) with World Bank and United Nations Development Programme. The GWP will address issues related to illegal wildlife trade across 19 countries in Asia and Africa. It will act as a platform to exchange knowledge and coordinate in on-ground action for combating illegal poaching of wildlife and improve governance on wildlife conservation.

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