01:02 pm Rome: All food production entails some transformation of the environment and nations must weight the type and scale of transformation they are prepared to accept, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation chief Qu Dongyu has said. "Biodiversity is fundamental for ecosystems, for human beings, and is the basis of food diversity," Qu said in opening remarks to negotiators at a high-level meeting on biodiversity here on Monday. Agriculture and food systems are "at the heart of the concept of sustainable development" and are central to deliberations regarding the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, he said. Qu noted the "enormous challenge" of feeding more than 9 billion people by 2050 in ways that assure healthy diets and avoid overexploitation of natural resources. He urged the delegations present to ensure that biodiversity is an integral part of the issues discussed at the 2021 World Food Systems Summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General. Qu said he hoped for a "robust" outcome would be agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, in October 2020. The framework decided at the Kunming conference will set the course for the next 10 years and beyond. FAO has shepherded "many milestones" in the history of UN efforts to achieve biodiversity conservation, Qu said, citing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the 2019 State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. The Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force in December 1993 and currently has 196 Parties. It aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The FAO Director-General urged the delegations present to ensure that biodiversity is an integral part of the issues discussed at the 2021 World Food Systems Summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General.
04:02 pm Kochi: GAF 2020, the fourth edition of Global Ayurveda Festival is to be set on May 16 to 20 with the participation of international business, industry, academic and diplomatic participants across continents, said Union Minister V Muraleedharan. GAF 2020 looks towards putting in place an international cooperation conclave to tap the potential of the global marketplace, research initiatives and medical tourism opportunity. This year there will be several more entities from various ministries like Ayush, Commerce and Industry, MSME, Tourism, External Affairs, which will take the event to a new level. V Muraleedharan, MoS,External Affairs and Chairman of the GAF said that the fourth edition which is to take place from May 16 to 20 will see more participation of international business, industry, academic and diplomatic participants across continents, said Muraleedharan. GAF 2020 is encouraged by various Central government departments and also the Kerala State Government, will bring together the efforts of all committed members from various countries to place ayurveda as a global system of medicine.
04:02 pm London: A new species of snail has been named after Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg for her efforts to raise awareness about climate change, say researchers. The new species -- Craspedotropis gretathunberga -- is approximately 2mm long and 1mm wide with grey tentacles and a concave shell. The snail was discovered by a group of citizen scientists working together with scientists from Taxon Expeditions, a company organises scientific field trips for teams consisting of both scientists and laypeople. "The newly described snail belongs to the so-called caenogastropods, a group of land snails known to be sensitive to drought, temperature extremes and forest degradation", said snail expert and co-founder of Taxon Expeditions Menno Schilthuizen. Having conducted a vote on how to name the species, the expedition participants and the local staff of the National Park together decided to name the mollusc 'Craspedotropis gretathunbergae', said the study, published in the Biodiversity Data Journal. "Naming this snail after Greta Thunberg is our way of acknowledging that her generation will be responsible for fixing problems that they did not create. And it's a promise that people from all generations will join her to help," said citizen scientist JP Lim. The expedition team approached Thunberg who said that she would be 'delighted' to have this species named after her. However, this is not the first time that Taxon Expeditions team names a species in honour of an environmental advocate. In 2018, they named a new species of beetle after famous actor and climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio.
02:02 pm New Delhi:The health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children, said a new report on Wednesday. No single country is adequately protecting children's health, their environment and their futures, according to the report by a commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world. The commission, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations children's agency, Unicef, and medical journal the Lancet, found that while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children's ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions --disproportionately from wealthier countries -- threaten the future of all children. "Despite improvements in child and adolescent health over the past 20 years, progress has stalled, and is set to reverse," said former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Co-Chair of the Commission, Helen Clark. "It has been estimated that around 250 million children under five years old in low- and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty. But of even greater concern, every child worldwide now faces existential threats from climate change and commercial pressures," Clark said. The report, titled "A Future for the World's Children?", includes a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing and sustainability, with a proxy for greenhouse gas emissions, and equity, or income gaps. India ranked 131 among the 180 countries in the index. The index shows that children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while children in the Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds. However, when the authors took per capita CO2 emissions into account, the top countries trail behind: Norway ranked 156, the Republic of Korea 166, and the Netherlands 160. Each of the three emits 210 per cent more CO2 per capita than their 2030 target. The US, Australia, and Saudi Arabia are among the ten worst emitters. If global warming exceeds 4 degree Celsius by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition, said the report. The only countries on track to beat CO2 emission per capita targets by 2030, while also performing fairly (within the top 70) on child flourishing measures are: Albania, Armenia, Grenada, Jordan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Vietnam. The report also revealed the distinct threat posed to children from harmful marketing. Evidence suggests that children in some countries see as many as 30,000 advertisements on television alone in a single year, while youth exposure to vaping (e-cigarettes) advertisements increased by more than 250 per cent in the US over two years, reaching more than 24 million young people. Children's exposure to commercial marketing of junk food and sugary beverages is associated with purchase of unhealthy foods and overweight and obesity, linking predatory marketing to the alarming rise in childhood obesity, said the report. The number of obese children and adolescents increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016 - an 11-fold increase, with dire individual and societal costs.
11:02 am San Francisco:Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos donates $10 billion through his initiative"Bezos Earth Fund" for NGOs, Scientists and activists to fight against global climate change. Jeff Bezoz said Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet, he wants to work alongside others, both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change. This is one of the biggest charitable pledges ever, after $36 billion pledge by billionaire Warren Buffett in 2006 and $16.4 billion pledge by Helen Walton, the late wife of Walmart founder Sam Walton, in 2007. Bezos said the fight against climate change has to be a collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organisations and individuals. Amazon recently announced a pledge to go carbon neutral by 2040. The e-commerce giant Amazon India said last month it will deploy 10,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in its delivery fleet by 2025. Amazon said it is dedicated to building a supply chain model of operations which will minimise adverse environmental impact as it aims to decrease its dependence on non-renewable sources. The 10,000 Indian EV commitment is in addition to the global commitment of deploying one lakh electric vehicles in the e-tailer's delivery fleet by 2030, announced as part of the company's Climate Pledge. According to Amazon, the company was the first signatory of the Climate Pledge, promising to groom the e-tailer to be net zero carbon by 2040 across its businesses, almost 10 years ahead of Paris Accord's 2050 goal.
11:02 am Gandhinagar: At the opening day of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda selected as Ambassadors for Migratory Species until 2023. Along with Randeep Hooda, Ian Redmond OBE International Conservationist and Sacha Dench explorer and environmentalist were also named as Ambassadors for Migratory Species under the redesigned Ambassadors Programme launched at CMS held at COP13. Ian Redmond, the British Biologist has worked as Ambassador for the Convention on Migratory Species from 2010. For CMS Redmond represents terrestrial species, his contribution receives wider acceptance on his work on elephants and great apes. For CMS Redmond represents terrestrial species. "One of the most important things I can do in my role as an Ambassador for the UN Convention on Migratory Species is to talk about CMS, write about CMS and help to make documentaries and social media posts about what it does and which species it helps," he said. Australian Sacha Dench is a pioneering conservationist, champion sportswoman and record-breaking adventurer who is known as the 'Human Swan' following her paramotor journey tracking the Bewick's Swan's migration from the Russian Arctic to the UK in 2016. Dench will be taking to the air for a trip of more than 6,000 miles later this year to track the migration route of ospreys from Scotland to Ghana. She said: "By investigating the health of the wetlands, especially the plastics and pollutants getting into the water system, we could help all manner of migrating birds and other animals that depend on healthy wetlands and waterways, including ourselves." Just prior to being selected as an Ambassador, Dench lost her family home to Australia's catastrophic bushfires. The launch of the redesigned programme took place on the opening day of the Thirteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) here. Randeep Hooda is an award-winning film and theatre actor, as well as a professional equestrian. He has advocated for many environmental causes, including wildlife protection and animal welfare, and has generated public awareness for his beach clean-ups in Mumbai. "Migration is a part and parcel of the life cycle of many species. It is not only important for them but also important for our planet. They make this world a healthy and more diverse place. Many of them are under threat and we need to work jointly across the globe to protect them," he said. Aquatic species are often the least discussed but undertake amazing migrations. Biodiversity underwater needs to be conserved. "As an Ambassador, I hope to take the conversation about conservation from conferences to local cooperation," Hooda added.
04:02 pm New Delhi:As one of the most trafficked wild animals in the world, pangolin is now becoming the project for the conservationists. The UN observes the World Pangolin Day every year this day. The day is marked to raise awareness about this unique mammal. To raise awareness about the threatened animal, a series of posts was shared by an Indian Forest Service officer Parveen Kaswan with the caption: "Do you know #Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal on the planet. Unharmful & shy but still millions are hunted & trafficked across Asia & Africa. All eight species of them are under threat for their use in medicine. It is #WorldPangolinDay for raising awareness." "Last year Singapore seized 8.8 tonnes of #elephant #ivory & 11.9 tonnes of #pangolin scales in 3 containers en route from DR Congo to Vietnam. For which 33,000 pangolins were killed. This is only one such seizure. There is a huge market & harmless creature hunted to extinction" he added. He also remarked: "They are Anteaters & important part of ecosystem. Indian pangolin is found across India & now endangered. Everywhere they are on their last leg. Scales are used in traditional medicines mistakenly for ailments & reducing impotency. Huge market in China & SE Asia." As the post went viral, Twitterati fell in love with this adorable mammal and urged people across the world to join together in raising awareness about this animal and its plight. A user wrote, "Such a wonderful, unique creature is the Pangolin. Humans Do Not need their body parts or scales for anything. Let them be, let them live free." Another wrote, "Pangolins are just the coolest little buddies I have ever seen next to the armadillos. Amazing little creatures and they deserve to be protected by us. They're just so neat." A post read, "I think we need a lot of awareness about this cute animal. We must save them at war footing as we did for tigers." "So worrying to know how human greed and ignorance is creating such havoc to our nature and environment," a user remarked.
02:02 pm Kochi: Marine experts at a workshop organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)on threatened and protected elasmobranchs asked for revisiting the list of marine elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). Leading marine experts on Saturday demanded that it's time for revisiting the list of marine elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) reference to the Wildlife Protection Act (1972). In the meeting its suggested for a special provision for marine conservation may be brought in considering stakeholder interaction and also considering the complexity of use in marine water. The meeting also called for periodic scientific assessment of the species protected under the WPA and modification in the listing, as almost two decades have elapsed since the inclusion of 10 species of elasmobranchs in the protected list. P.U.Zacharia, head of the Demersal Fisheries Division of CMFRI asked to conduct studies on how existing policies related to protection of shark on the livelihood of fishermen. He also added "Any suggestions on the conservation of these resources will consider the interest and opinions of the stakeholders too. "
03:07 pm Rampur, Two wild tuskers, stranded in a town in Uttar Pradesh's Rohilkhand region who had sent forest officials on a wild goose chase for the past almost three and a half weeks, have finally been tranquilized. After the crucial tranquilisation carried out late on Wednesday the tuskers were now being transported by road from Bareilly to Pilibhit where they would be pushed back to forests by Thursday afternoon. "While one tusker has almost reached the Pilibhit forest outskirts, the other one which took longer to be mounted on a truck, has also crossed Bareilly toll plaza," Rajesh Pandey, DIG Bareilly range told IANS. The tuskers who drifted away from their usual pathways in forests bordering Uttar Pradesh on the Nepal border (near Pilibhit) had strayed into town area, killing more than five people at different locations at different time during these weeks. Talking to the IANS, Chief Conservative of Forest, Lalit Verma said that the two tuskers were tamed by the experts in the town of Malik, located between Rampur and Bareilly in Rohilkhand region. The wild elephants were finally tranquilised and are being transported to forests by a special truck, meant for transportation of the mamoths. Earlier forest authorities requested the DIG in Barelly to clear the highway so that tuskers could be transported to Pilibhit (forest) within the stipulated time. Armed police and special elephant patrol teams were deployed by the Forest Department to contain the tuskers who had lost their way in jungle and strayed into urban area. The two wild elephants, wandering from one spot to another since the past forthnight, had killed five person in separate incidents. On Monday last, the jumbos reached Mirzapur village, 15 km from Rampur and trampled one Raju Yadav who was returning home from work on bicycle. According to villagers, Raju was not aware of the presence of the wild elephants in the village. He unwittingly came close to them on the road near his house and was trampled and killed. Two weeks ago, the wild tuskers killed a person identified as Baijnath in Bilaspur tehsil and injured two others. Forest officials then had said that they were trying to divert the elephants towards Bahedi in Bareilly district. Forest officials had also got two more cow elephants from the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve for push-and-pull process to lure the tuskers away from human habitation to the forests. Earlier Divisional Forest Officer, Rampur, A.K. Kashyap, supervising the operation had said: "We are taking all necessary precautionary measures to divert them in case they do so. We have made arrangements for lighting a fire and keeping husk with chilli powder and firecrackers in hand." Forest officials had installed loudspeakers on their vehicles and were going around all villages situated within 10-km radius of Peepal Sana, telling villagers keep away from their fields for safety. Similar announcements were also made from mosques on Monday. Earlier, P.P. Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests, Jhansi, and in-charge of elephant rescue operation, said: "Though the tuskers diverted towards a westward direction, they were still in our range. There is nothing to panic. Due to weekly markets held at the villages in Rampur on Saturday, we could not conduct the push-and-pull process properly. "However, we will continue with our strategy to move the two bull elephants in the right direction. Though we are taking help of three cow elephants from Dudhwa in our rescue operation, we have sought two more for assistance. We are expecting the two cow elephants to arrive by Monday." Rampur divisional forest officer A.K. Kashyap said that the elephants are now likely to be shifted to Amangarh Tiger Reserve in Bijnore district. He said that the tuskers were tranquilized on an agricultural field in Khata Chintamaan village under Milak sub-division by a team of experts. P.P. Singh, chief conservator of forests, Jhansi, and the in-charge of elephant rescue operation, said, "The elephants were sedated in a standing position. Their legs were then tied with the help of excavators. They will be transported from the area on Thursday." High drama was witnessed at the site of the rescue as hundreds of people had gathered to witness the operation and heavy police force was deployed in the area to control the crowd. Rampur chief medical officer rushed two ambulances to the spot as a precautionary measure. A team of more than 150 forest officials from six districts of Uttar Pradesh apart from other experts from various parts of the country were also present. The wild elephants were first spotted in the agriculture belt of Amaria block of Pilibhit district on June 24. Officials suspect that they strayed out of Uttarakhand and entered Bareilly's Lakhimpur village from Amaria. They later killed a 45-year-old farmer on June 27 and another person on June 30. On July 2, the elephants trampled a man to death in Rudrapur's Rampura Colony. The next day, they killed a forest guard in Tigri village. Similarly on July 14, they killed another man in Rampur's Chandpur Qadeem village taking the total death toll to five. source:ians
03:07 pm Satna (Madhya Pradesh): Shripal Mawasi, a resident of Putrichuwa village in Madhya Pradeshs Satna district, has to help his cow stand up. The cow is not sick, shes famished; a bit too weak to even stand on its own. Putrichuwa has been facing a massive water crisis and thus Shripal couldnt arrange enough water for his cow. "I had bought this cow four years ago for Rs 1,000. She gave birth to two calves during this period but this year proved to be bad for her. Due to the water and food crisis, I failed to feed her. When water is not available for humans itself, how can we provide it to animals?" asked Shripal. This is the situation in almost every household in this village. Abandoned cows at roadsides and in deserted fields are a common sight in the region. Rameshwar Mawasi, a resident of Barha Mawan village of Satna, said the residents of the village had predicted a drought in March and sold off their big cattle. He informed that now villagers have only goats for cattle as people have abandoned their cows and buffaloes owing to the shortage of food and water. Even during monsoons, there is no end to this problem. According to the statistics released by the Indian Meteorological Department, the state has received 56 per cent less rainfall between June 1 and June 26 compared with the same period last year. The average rainfall should have been 91.4 mm during this period but the state received only 45.1 mm rainfall. The condition of Satna district is particularly bad. The district received 58 per cent less rain than last year between June 1 and June 26. From June 20 to June 26, the district received only 6 mm rainfall while the average precipitation is 46.3 mm. This district has been receiving unfavourable spells of rainfall for the last two years. In 2018, the rainfall in this region was 784 mm, while it was 743.2 mm in 2017. The average rainfall in this region is 1039 mm. Bhurelal Mawasj, a resident of Putrichuwa village, said he regrets buying a cow. He highlighted that if the rains are delayed by another two weeks, everyone will lose their cattle. Struggle for water Not only animals, even humans are facing great difficulty because of scarcity of food and water. Women walk nearly four km to fetch drinking water. Forty-year-old Phool Bai, a resident of Putrichuwa, said that seven hand pumps in the village have dried up and the women go to a nearby pond and a well to fetch water. The severity of the water crisis is similar in the nearby villages of Majhgawan block. "There is a lone functional hand pump in the village and that too gives dirty water. One has to keep pumping for 15 minutes to fill a 20-litre bucket," said Rajaram Mawasi, a 55-year-old resident of Kiraipukhari village. He added that while the villagers use water from the hand-pump only for drinking purposes, water for animals and other household work is obtained from a pond three km away from the village. An average resident of the village walks 15 to 16 km to fetch water twice or thrice every day, he said. Satendra Singh, the district collector of Panna, was not available to comment on the scarcity of water and the steps the government has taken to address this shortage.