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Friday, May 17, 2024

Cabinet Approves Establishment of International Big Cat Alliance

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) with headquarters in India. The alliance aims to secure the future of big cats and their habitats, focusing on conservation practices developed in India. Seven big cats, including Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah, are found in India.

The IBCA is a multi-country, multi-agency coalition of 96 big cat range countries, non-range countries interested in big cat conservation, conservation partners, scientific organizations, business groups, and corporates willing to contribute to the cause of big cats.

It aims for mutual cooperation among countries for mutual benefit in furthering the conservation agenda. The framework of IBCA will have a multipronged approach, broad basing and establishing linkages in several areas, helping in knowledge sharing, capacity building, networking, advocacy, finance and resources support, research and technical support, education and awareness.

IBCA envisions synergy through a collaborative platform for increased dissemination of gold standard big cat conservation practices, providing access to a central common repository of technical know-how and corpus of funds, strengthening existing species-specific intergovernmental platforms, networks, and transnational initiatives on conservation and protection. Brand ambassadors across range countries will play a greater role in carrying forward the concept and ensuring Big Cat Conservation campaigns among the masses, including the youth and local communities who are important stakeholders in the whole process.

The IBCA recognizes the importance of integrating biodiversity policies with sustainable development goals (SDGs) to achieve holistic and inclusive conservation outcomes. The alliance advocates for policy initiatives that align biodiversity conservation efforts with local needs and contribute towards the attainment of UN SDGs within IBCA member countries. The IBCA governance consists of an Assembly of Members, Standing Committee, and a Secretariat with its Head Quarter in India.

The IBCA has secured the Government of India’s initial support of Rs. 150 crore for five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28. For augmented corpus, contributions from bilateral and multilateral agencies, other appropriate institutions, and mobilizing financial support from public sector organizations, national and international financial institutions, and donor agencies will be explored.

The IBCA 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 well-being of thousands of communities reliant on these ecosystems.

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