In a major event to promote conservation in India, IUCN, the Government of India and research institutions make a collective decision to start a comprehensive Red Listing process in the country adopting the IUCN Regional Red Listing Guidelines.
The IUCN Red Listing process made a significant leap in conservation efforts in South Asia with its formal entry into the policymaking frameworks of the Government of India. In a landmark event led by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, with support from IUCN (India Country Office), a one day consultative workshop on the global Red Listing process was organised in New Delhi on February 1, 2011, that saw the merger of India’s conservation efforts with the global IUCN Red Listing process.
The platform explored the need to integrate the various ongoing Red Listing processes within the country and to develop a strategy for a country level initiative adopting the adopting the regional IUCN Red Listing guidelines. The event helped create for the first time in India a Standing Committee on IUCN Red Listing was formed to oversee the development of a country level process.
Government agencies such as the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Botanical Survey of India (BSI), the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) joined hands with prominent non government research organisations such as the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the Worldwide Fund for Nature-India (WWF) and the Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO) to form the core group of the Committee along with MoEF and IUCN.
This Committee is envisaged to propose a doable strategy and actions that would oversee the implementation of the Red Listing process across the country for all known fauna and flora. It would make suggestions on assigning lead institutions to undertake the floral and faunal Red Listing with support from MoEF and IUCN. Additionally, it would also suggest an institutional mechanism that could potentially update the Red Listing process on a periodic basis.
Elaborating on the global Red Listing process, Dr Susan Mainka, Head of the IUCN Science and Learning Unit, underlined that the IUCN Red Listing process, while being very useful to understand the conservation requirements of species, could also be the basis on which other nationally relevant parameters – including culture, economics and livelihoods – could be added for a comprehensive understanding of national level wildlife protection issues.
Dr Ashok Khosla, IUCN President expressed his great pleasure at Government of India’s initiative in integrating the IUCN Red Listing process to the existing national frameworks for documentation of flora and fauna in the country. He emphasised that the initiative should form the basis for all future policies pertaining wildlife protection and trade in the country.
Mr Jagdish Kishwan, Additional Director General of Forests (ADGF), MoEF, stated that the process of Red Listing would need the active support and contribution of all agencies. He underscored the need for convergence of ideas and experiences on the process in India and advocated a combined and integrated effort for an India specific strategy.