Topic Covered :
Good news about Gujarat’s Gir Forest
China reaches accord with India on LAC spat
New guidelines for import of exotic species
Merkel, Macron urge EU to prepare for next pandemic
GOOD NEWS ABOUT GUJARAT’S GIR FOREST
Why in news?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to both Twitter and Instagram to share some “very good news” about the majestic Asiatic lions living in the Gir Forest in Gujarat.
Population of the majestic Asiatic Lion, living in Gujarat’s Gir Forest, is up by almost 29%.
Geographically, distribution area is up by 36%.
IUCN Status – Endangered.
The Asiatic Lion exists as a single isolated population in India's Gujarat State.
The State Forest Department says the population is 674 including males, females and cubs. During 2015, the baseline was 523 lions. Moreover, the distribution of the lions expanded from 22,000 sq. km in 2015 to 30,000 sq. km in 2020.
Over the last several years, the lion population in Gujarat has been steadily rising. This is powered by community participation, emphasis on technology, wildlife healthcare, proper habitat management and steps to minimise human-lion conflict.
CHINA REACHES ACCORD WITH INDIA ON LAC SPAT
Why in news?
China said on Wednesday it had “reached agreement” with India on the ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a day after India announced troops from both sides had begun a “partial disengagement” from some of the stand-off points.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said both sides had agreed to handle the situation “properly” and “in line with the agreement” to ease the situation, but did not provide specific details on some of the stand-off points, such as Pangong Lake, where Chinese troops are still present on India’s side of the LAC.
India and China held Major General-level talks to discuss further de-escalation at several stand-off points in Eastern Ladakh including Patrolling Point (PP) 14, following a broad accord reached on Saturday in talks held at the Corps Commander-level.
As per the agreement, a series of ground-level talks would be held over the next 10 days, with four other points of conflict identified at PP15, PP17, Chushul and the north bank of Pangong Lake.
Government officials said a partial disengagement had happened at some points in the Galwan area and at Hot Springs, but there was no change at Pangong Lake.
NEW GUIDELINES FOR IMPORT OF EXOTIC SPECIES
Why in news?
The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has issued an advisory saying people importing “exotic live species” will have to make a voluntary disclosure.
The move comes as the outbreak of COVID-19 has raised global concern about illegal wildlife trade and zoonotic diseases.
The advisory issued earlier this month defines “exotic live species” as animal or plant species moved from their original range (location) to a new one.
Several exotic species of birds, reptiles, small mammals, fishes and even some plants are imported.
The Ministry has said “exotic live species” shall be construed to mean only “the animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora”.
Species covered by the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 cannot be traded.
Experts have welcomed the move and said it will create a process where all imports will be screened.
As of now, the imports are being made through the Director General of Foreign Trade and State Forest departments are not kept in the loop.
For new “exotic live species”, the importer should obtain a no-objection certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden ( CWLW) of the State.
For existing species, stocks “shall be declared by the owner/ holder (stock, as on 1 January 2020) to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the concerned State or UT”.
MERKEL, MACRON URGE EU TO PREPARE FOR NEXT PANDEMIC
Why in news?
France, Germany and four other EU countries on Tuesday urged the European Union to take a greater role in preparing for any future pandemic, conceding that coronavirus responses had fallen short.
There should be a “common European approach” to such challenges in future, wrote France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel along with the leaders of Spain, Poland, Belgium and Denmark.
As the global outbreak first took hold, member states privileged national responses by shutting borders, hoarding medical supplies and waving through major spending plans regardless of EU rules.
The letter put a special emphasis on the shortages of desperately needed medical supplies that were felt unevenly across the EU as the virus made its way across the continent.
Shortcomings include insufficient supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, critical medicines, and vaccines.
The leaders also pressed Brussels to streamline data across the bloc so that rates of infection and other key figures matched from one country to the other.
They also urged the commission to provide a “strengthened mandate” for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an EU agency.
Common procurement and better cooperation on maintaining critical stocks was another field the leaders urged the commission to study.
The leaders also called on Europe to work towards “diversifying supply lines”, in a veiled call to stop EU countries from relying too heavily on China or India.
This includes identifying new trading partners with the aim to decrease the dependency of EU countries on single suppliers